Robots? Cheap labor in China and Mexico? The potential impact of a trade war?
Turns out there is a bigger threat to blue-collar manufacturing jobs in America – the attitudes of American workers, which have led to 500,000 open jobs in that sector alone.
According to CNBC, many Americans consider those jobs beneath them, and thus won’t even apply. If manufacturers can’t find workers here, they have to look elsewhere to produce their products.
Case in point? Snap-On Tools, which admittedly is exploring the expanded use of robots but says it has not laid off an employee since before the great recession, and currently has 12,600 of them.
Snap-on Chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk told a labor conference that the shortage is because only 30 percent of Americans will consider working in manufacturing, and many view it as “what other people’s kids do.”
Pinchuk said messaging about getting a college education being the only path to a good salary is part of the problem, because it gives jobs welding and other trade occupations that don’t require a college degree but pay very well an unfair shake.
And about those robots? Pinchuk says they’ll continue to expand, but also continue to require the intervention of skilled humans.
Without a change in attitude, though, the problem is likely to get worse. Pinchuk, at Snap-On, is trying to do his part by selling manufacturing jobs as great careers.
“We tell people they are making some difference, we are the people of work, help working men and women, the makers and fixers who create society,” he told CNBC. “We hold that dear. It is kind of dramatic, but our people believe it.”
Now, will anybody else?
EI Fast Five: In Brief
Twice as meatless: Embattled Blue Apron (new Morgan Stanley stock price target, $6), which made a splash by hitting harried millennials’ tables two servings at a time, saw its shares jump 25 percent in a single day by adding Beyond Meat, which caters to vegans with better veggie burgers and more, to the menu. According to Investopedia, among the Beyond burger offerings are caramelized onion and cheddar, and jalapeño and goat cheese. EveryIncome can report Beyond burgers are good. Blue Apron stock? Unclear.
If I were a rich man: Of Americans with at least $1 million in investable assets, 13 percent don’t feel like they’re wealthy, according to a USA Today report on a study by Ameriprise Financial. Uncertainty about having enough money to last their entire retirement topped the list of reasons.
EI Fast Five: Tips of the week
Mortgage mania: Nerdwallet says people who bought houses in summer to early fall 2018 might benefit – already – from a refinanced mortgage. The rates have been falling for about seven months, and the guideline is that it makes sense if they’re three-quarters of a point lower than what you have. For many, that’s now. To see how much you could save, Nerdwallet has a handy calculator.
Honey, I shrunk the debt: Kiplinger’s identifies five big causes of marital money stress, and how to fix them. Among the tips? “Your spouse is not perfect. Acknowledge that we are all flawed and sometimes make mistakes.” CTRL-C, CTRL-V for multiple situations.