Originally Published in the Sun Sentinel, October 22, 2018
The Department of Labor recently reported that in August, U.S. businesses had over 7 million unfilled positions. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, there are about 240,000 open jobs in our state, and fewer than 60,000 people receiving unemployment benefits. These statistics highlight a worker shortage crisis that over time will negatively impact our state and national economies, our ability to generate wealth, and even our national security.
The problem is so severe that if you gather 20 CEOs in a room and ask about their biggest challenge, 18 of the 20 are likely to say it is finding good employees.
How did we get to the place where businesses cannot find the employees they need?
The U.S. economy is enjoying a nearly 10-year run of economic growth that has generated many new jobs. Meanwhile, retiring baby boomers are vacating existing jobs at the rate of 10,000 per day. This combination of economic growth and retiring baby boomers has resulted in a very low unemployment rate, with more jobs available than people qualified to fill them.
Bill Yeargin is CEO of Correct Craft, a marine industry company based in Orlando with six manufacturing plants around the U.S. He also is a member of the Florida Council of 100.