Friday, September 21, 2007

Captive Labor Pittsburgh

As we get closer to election time, politicians beat the brain drain drum more frequently. Ironically, at least from the Pittsburgh perspective, the resulting crisis is a tight labor market in states such as New Hampshire:

Michael Power of the state Workforce Opportunity Council, said the state does not have an unemployment problem, but rather a labor shortage. Employers are looking for educated and skilled workers. On its website,, the state provides a job match program, a list of training centers and educational facilities.

If Pittsburgh is experiencing brain drain, where is the local coverage detailing a similar problem with unfilled positions? On the contrary, the story is about people leaving the region because they can't find good employment. Pittsburgh is struggling to create enough jobs in order to meet the demand to live there.

The New Hampshire case makes plain the trouble with retaining talent that graduates locally. What the policymakers in that state should do is target places such as Pittsburgh (like what Utah is doing) where there is a glut of labor. Actually, I don't know if there are any other Pittsburghs out there in terms of an over-supply of workers that results in depressed wages.

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