Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rust Belt Talent Wanted

Want to move to Australia? Businesses Down Under are desperately seeking skilled workers who are perceived to be seeking jobs in the struggling Rust Belt:

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.


Mark Rauterkus said...

New Zealand seeks workers too.

I think that their efforts to recruit will bear fruit. Their gain, our loss.

Jim Russell said...

Indeed, New Zealand is in the market for talent. However, their initiatives suffer from the same political pitfalls you find here in the States.