The American job market has been getting progressively healthier since the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007. The crisis had a big influence on people’s work life and general stability. Some folks did not have any choice but to abandon their homes and their lives and move in with family. The people that were uprooted from their homes were the most hit by the crisis, and it certainly showed in the unemployment rate. It was not only those who were uprooted that lost their jobs, however. Due to a decrease in consumer spending a lot of small businesses no longer had the revenue to keep a full staff. A lot of folks were let go simply because their bosses could no longer pay them. It was a downward spiral and the global economy was affected by it.
More Employment Means A Stronger Economy
Luckily, things have turned around quite a bit since then. Recent numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate is back to a healthy state. One of the areas that has seen an increase is in the manufacturing sector. Data shows that in 2016 approximately 12.5 million people worked in manufacturing, up from the 11 million stated in 2010. Unemployment has also shifted back to pre-recession levels of about 4.5%.
Not Everyone That Can Work Is Working
While this number might seem really low, it is in fact hiding something: more people have remained outside of the labor market than before the recession. For example, 32% of the population was not working in 200. In 2017, this percentage has risen to 37%. Part of the reason is that the population is getting older and people are retiring, so it’s not necessarily bad news.
Why Are High Skilled Jobs Not A Concern
Usually the focus of employment numbers focuses on the general unemployment rate. This is helpful on a basic level, but tells us little about where unemployment is highest, and why some industries are showing slow growth. Take the solar industry, for example. The solar industry is absolutely booming at the moment. Nearly 300,000 Americans are working in the industry, and the industry as a whole has grown a whopping 97% from 2015 to 2016.
But what about the hiring of skilled engineers in the solar industry? Not many American Universities offer world-class training in Engineering. This area of study is much more popular and much more high quality in Europe and India. American solar companies need to be able to hire the best and brightest engineers if they want to stay one step ahead of the market. The only way they will be able to do so is bring foreign nationals into the country via a permanent labor certification program like PERM. What is not showing up in employment data, however, is the fact that it takes almost a year on average to hire a foreign national through PERM. Let’s hope that this changes so that the labor market can expand and the advertising around America’s immigration policy can become more positive.