Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Minnesota are suffering from record unemployment as manufacturing plants shut down or lay off hundreds of workers. The exodus of jobs to China has emerged as a major issue in the race for the next US President.
Peter Beattie, Queensland’s Los Angeles-based US trade commissioner, has started running a media campaign seeking skilled workers. The sunny state is particularly looking for boiler makers, welders, diesel fitters and engineers.
Is there really a glut of this kind of talent in the United States? Australia seems absolutely sure there is. I keep reading stories about labor shortages in cities such as Milwaukee, where young adults are forgoing learning the skilled trades for a shot at college. There are available workers, but they are living in the wrong places and don't tend to embrace (for a variety of reasons) geographic mobility. I'm skeptical that the marketing campaign can overcome the inertia.