Automation, rising minimum wage and educational trends make it hard for young men to get jobs

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  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 26, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    As a proud liberal and progressive I think there is still something the left needs to come to grips with and that is employers will never and pretty much have never, paid employees more than they have to.

    The key to the labor movement was that American workers were performing jobs and work that no one else in the world could perform....until they could. To romanticize the era of labor extracting high pay and benefits from employers misses the point and distracts us from what needs to be done now.

    The right needs to realize that the creation of technologies and industries that will support this principle and the ensuing entrepreneurialism needs to be socialized and only society as a whole can do this. Thus the Solyndras etc.

    Germany has figured this out. We need to quickly.

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    March 25, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    While girls work, study, win sterling scholar awards and outpace the men in obtaining their bachelors degrees in Utah, these young men are content to sit in their parents' basement and play X-box.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 24, 2014 10:41 p.m.

    never fear ..there are plenty of part-time jobs out there thanks to Obamacare. And those part time jobs pay well...$8 average. Now just over in the Dakota's young men are making in excess of 150k per year with the fracking business ...all on PRIVATE land. So you choose...part time work at McDonalds or 150k being a welder. Think of the thousands of high paying jobs and careers that would open up IF we had a president who actually understood and believed in Capitalism instead of Communism. College kids who blindly voted for "Joe Cool" are finding that spending 5 years in college and then working part time flipping burgers in Obama's economy isn't so cool after all. Finding out you were duped is a pretty empty feeling...but there is no better teacher than experience....

  • cjf Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    Like it or not, immigration, both illegal and legal, have made it much more difficult for young people to get jobs. It is simple economics: dramatically increase the supply of workers, and wages will stagnate and jobs will be more difficult to obtain.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 24, 2014 6:43 p.m.

    Are we just a bunch of pawns dependent on those "greedy" business owners or are we so lazy that we think that we deserve a wage higher than the value that we offer? As a business owner, I have some experience working with people who show up late (or not at all), of people stoned out of their minds, of people who have destroyed materials and machinery because they would not follow simple instructions. Sure, I've had a few excellent employees, and I paid them an excellent wage, but many were under qualified.

    Why do people think that being "an American" automatically qualifies them to be well paid?

    I've always made sure that I was over qualified for every job. None of the businessmen ever hesitated to pay me a fair wage.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    Predictably, we are seeing the standard "Americans are just a bunch of untalented, lazy bums," and, "there are not enough qualified workers in America," false propaganda rationalizations for avoiding paying one's fellow American a fair wage. Doubtless Jesus foresaw that such greed and accompanying sophistry would be a major problem in our day. No wonder He spoke of Camels, and of Eyes of Needles.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 24, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    I guess the term "young" is relative. To me anybody under 40 is "young". But young men can, and have started new businesses. My father started his first business at 20. He's started 5 businesses and sold them (they are all still around... employing young people in our local area (in the retail, food, and entertainment industry).

    I agree it's unusual for a kid to start a new company. But what I meant is that these young men will someday need to startup new companies... or there won't be any new jobs.

    And the main point I was trying to make was that people who do this (start a business, hire people, etc)... are vilified by the hard-core-left.

    I really don't think my father could (or would want to) do it in today's over-regulated anti-business world. He's retired now (for about the 10th time) but he's mentioned that times have changed and he couldn't have done what he did today.

    What I was talking about is the OccupyWS mentality... that business owners are scum.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    "We also need lots of young men who are willing to start NEW businesse"

    Most businesses require a good deal of startup money, something not exactly available to young people in high school or college unless you subscribe to the Romney philosophy of "just borrow from your parents" and have parents that don't laugh at the idea.

  • Cletus from Coalville Coalville, UT
    March 24, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    "The Harvard School of Business report there is growing evidence of a skills gap in which many young adults lack the skills and work ethic needed for many jobs that pay a middle-class wage."

    That's precisely the problem. But the Occupy Wall Street crowd along with liberals believe that businesses somehow owe people a job with a high wage regardless of a person's skill level. The only reason business should even be in business is to provide jobs for society, not make a dirty, evil profit.

    Liberals also continue to perpetuate this myth that companies only pay "minimum pay rates" to people who have high skills. This false propaganda is an ignorant display of basic economics and shows a complete lack of understanding of the simple law of supply and demand.

    Of course, society would be much better if it incorporated the Marxist tenets of centralized economic planning where the government replaces business, owns the means of production, pays people a "fair" wage, and redistributes the proceeds of economic activity according to the needs of the people -- needs that only the government can determine.

    Sad thing is we have many young people buy into this stuff.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 24, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    "But those companies don't want a young person right out of school."

    Of course they do if students have some skills. Career and Technical Education programs are offered in every high school in Utah to help train students for higher-skill, higher-wage, and higher-demand occupations. Students can earn skill certificates to help them become eligible for higher paying jobs right out of high school. Problem is we have this silly mindset kids must go straight to college rather than participate in these "vocational" programs when job availability and higher wages are waiting for them out of high school.

    "They want trained, experienced workers for jobs - at minimum pay rates."

    Trained workers are at premium, but the "minimum pay rates" is nonsense if workers have the skills employers need. For example, wage growth for STEM careers has been more robust during the last twelve years than at any other time.

    The Harvard School of Business reports there is "growing evidence of a skills gap in which many young adults lack the skills and work ethic needed for many jobs that pay a middle-class wage."

    A little more research on your part might help.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 24, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    Tyler D,

    We agree that ALL education is beneficial, but not all education leads to a job. The FIRST duty that a man has is to take care of himself and his family. That might require him to sacrifice his interests for the good of the family. AFTER he is qualified to work at the kind of work that will support him and his family, he can augment his education and study those things that interest him.

    Many of us have never stopped learning. We set aside a portion of each day to study new things or to extend our understanding of things that we have previously studied. Education should never stop just because we have a piece of paper that tells the world that we have "arrived".

    In today's world, science and math are more in demand than philosophy. That doesn't mean that philosophy is not important, but it is not required to get a job in a technical area. (Personally, one of my favorite books is, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". It helps me understand that others might think differently about things than I do.)

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 24, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @Mike Richards – “Getting a degree in library science, philosophy, communications, history, etc., does little to "train" a young man…”

    I am largely with you here Mike and agree that pay is commensurate with the skills we have.

    But I would be careful not to disparage non-technical degrees. There is more to life than simply job skills and many so called liberal arts degrees go a long way towards creating a better, more informed citizenry (just look at the educations of our Founders).

    In terms of how that translates into jobs, of course it matters from the standpoint of supply & demand. If there are 50,000 history majors and only 5000 jobs per year requiring those skills, those students will likely end up (at least in the short term) at Starbucks.

    One final caveat – I would not lump a philosophy degree in with the rest. Philosophy degrees are very much sought after as a solid prerequisite for grad school and even jobs straight out of college due to their unparalleled ability to teach logic and critical thinking skills.

    March 24, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Way to cherry pick your facts. This may be peripherally true:

    Furthermore, "U.S. manufacturing companies hiring skilled workers are having a hard time finding individuals with the skills they need. In fact, 67% of companies hiring full-time employees cannot find the skilled workforce needed, according to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). Today, 600,000 jobs are unfilled in manufacturing for this reason, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)."

    But those companies don't want a young person right out of school. They want trained, experienced workers for jobs - at minimum pay rates.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 24, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    I think exporting jobs is a much bigger threat to job prospects for this generation. If the problem were just automation... you could at least get a job designing, building, and writing software to control the robots. With exporting jobs (or importing foreign workers to do those jobs)... they do all the entry level jobs. You can still get a job managing those overseas workers, but they don't usually hire entry level people to manage teams.

    There's also the problem of "Jobs Americans just won't do".

    It used to be the really hard or stinky jobs. Now it includes almost any entry level job.

    So what is a young person to do now days. They have the attention span of a gnat. If they can't get on their phone and chat with their friends every 5 minutes they get the shakes. I think it's going to be tough for them in the real world job market.

    And on top of that... You are vilified as a "1%er" IF you have the audacity to start your own business and hire help, or expand a business opening more branches nationwide, that would provide jobs nation wide.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 24, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Automation does make it hard for men to find jobs. But not just for this generation. In my father's generation it was the steam shovel. It could do the work of 40 men with shovels. Teams of men used to dig ditches, foundations, tunnels, etc. Not anymore (thank heaven).

    In my generation it was computers and information technology.

    In this generation it's automation (a robot can be more precise and never takes a break, doesn't have a union, pension, or a pay check). It's a fact that these advancements do reduce the amount of man-power it takes to do the things that used to be done manually. But we can't make them go away. We have to move forward and find NEW jobs.

    Maybe the new generation can get involved in research and even start new companies to make new more affordable solar panels or something. We don't want to go back to digging ditches by hand.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 24, 2014 9:29 a.m.


    Why are companies hiring programmers (with doctorates) from India? The people of India are motivated. They know what they're doing. They are dedicated.

    My son travels to India at least twice a year to check on projects that his company has "outsourced" to India. The cost of a programmer in India (combined with the cost of travelling to India and the cost of locating an American team in India to work with the Indian teams) is higher than hiring someone in America. The difference is that Indian programmers are better trained (in America), more qualified, and much more motivated. They do the work assigned without excuse and without delay.

    In a previous job, my son worked with 150 "teams", each consisting of three or four programmers. He said that at least 50% of their time was spent helping "junior" programmers (with computer science degrees) learn how to program!

    Workers have a value. When they are properly trained and are motivated to WORK, they will find jobs. If they're just looking for a paycheck, they may never find a job.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    March 24, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Whew, do "facts" change here in the DN!
    Now please count the number of stories you have printed stating that President Obama was the sole culprit responsible for this.
    How many pointed out that was not true?
    Remember those capitalists who love sending all these job overseas.
    An apology?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 24, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    So, if the impediment to young men getting good starting jobs is education, automation and of course the dreaded increasing minimum wage, how about they start by picking lettuce in imperial county, CA.? Very low tech, no automation, and definitely low pay. Problem solved.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 24, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    "The greatest single threat to American young men and the traditional family is global capital."

    A patently false assumption filled with progressive, anti-capitalist nonsense.

    The reason we are not seeing robust job growth is because businesses have not seen demand for their goods and services pick up in a way that would allow them to significantly increase hiring.

    Furthermore, "U.S. manufacturing companies hiring skilled workers are having a hard time finding individuals with the skills they need. In fact, 67% of companies hiring full-time employees cannot find the skilled workforce needed, according to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). Today, 600,000 jobs are unfilled in manufacturing for this reason, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)."

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    RE: Mike Richards "It's simple: Training determines opportunity." It's not so simple. The only jobs which cannot be exported are those which require hands on work activity - like primary health care. Everything else was and is being exported. Your son is very lucky, Mike. Programming jobs are now being exported to India by the boatload.

    We differ in what we think capital has a right to do. I believe in socialism because there has to be some break on the prerogatives of capital - it should not be able to destroy a generation of Americans in the interests of higher and higher profits.

    Under the current setup capital exports jobs, destroying job markets here in the "homeland." The resultant profits then are used to buy government debt which grants capital even greater profits, running government debt levels higher and higher. Prescription for disaster, and it is coming like on oncoming freight train.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 24, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    There's always something making it hard for young men to get jobs. In my generation it was technology. If you didn't have it... you had a hard time. But we have always adapted. It's time this generation adapted to what's required of them (instead of just looking to Obama to create more of the old type of jobs).

    We need to keep adapting. Pretending the President can make economic reality stand still or go back to the way it was... is futile. It would be a temporary bandage at best. We need to work harder to adapt now.

    We also need lots of young men who are willing to start NEW businesses (because there aren't enough old-school jobs for everybody in our ever growing population). And people who start businesses are seen as the "bad guys" by this generation... So they are probably going to have a hard time finding enough jobs for a long time.

    The government can't create jobs fast enough... WE have to create net new jobs! As long as the people doing that are seen as the villain by the government... it's going to be tough...

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 24, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    Training is the key to getting a job. Getting a degree in library science, philosophy, communications, history, etc., does little to "train" a young man to do the work that is available. Sure, there are a few jobs for those graduates, but not nearly as many jobs as their are graduates.

    Why would a company hire someone whose interest is foreign to the job being offered? Why would a company risk its valuable equipment to someone who had shunned technology while getting his "education"?

    Everything has a consequence. Those who are interested in having a job to provide for a family would put their personal interests aside and get the training required for the jobs available.

    One of my sons started towards a civil engineering degree. After talking to many civil engineers, he changed his degree to computer science. That degree allowed him to get an excellent job. Now, he it CTO of a large company. He looked 15 years down the road and compared the possibilities, then he chose the training that would take him where he wanted to be.

    It's simple: Training determines opportunity.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    Democrats have shown little interest in creating jobs. They would prefer all men and women to work for the government and have the government skim their share first and then re-distribute back to the peasants what they feel they deserve.

    Somehow in their mind, they feel it's more fair to impoverish everyone, rather than give people unlimited opportunities for self improvement and being able to use their creative minds and skills and succeed.

    Don't misunderstand me. Some regulation is needed. But, this cradle to grave nonsense is just that.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 24, 2014 4:14 a.m.

    “The Obama administration’s recent mandate to require set rules for overtime pay is another disincentive for youth employment.”

    Oh really? Can anyone explain why?

    That “recent mandate” changes overtime pay rules only for salaried employees. How many youths have salaried jobs instead of working for hourly pay? . . . One one hundredth of one percent at most perhaps?

    Come one. Sure an editorial is an opinion piece, but that opinion should be based on some sort of fact.

    So Deseret News, how about basing your editorials a little less on wild claims and a little more on actual facts.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    Why doesn't the Deseret News mention the fact that due to greed and political corruption Utah is a known sanctuary state for illegal aliens and the fact that Utah has the fastest-growing illegal-alien population in the nation and the fact that THIS adversely affects Utah teenagers' employment prospects?

    The reason teen employment numbers are high in Provo is the large number of 17, 18 and 19 year old students living in Provo who attend UVU and BYU and find it necessary to work partly because of the exorbitantly high cost of student housing in Provo. The numbers do not really reflect the employment rate of teenaged native Provoans.

    Incidentally, the very sentiment which calls for keeping wages down happens to be directly related to Utah's subversive illegal-alien (immigration law anti-enforcement) sanctuary policies mentioned above. The high number of illegal aliens in Utah helps keep wages down. This is by design.

    It is a principal reason certain special interest groups in Utah don't want illegal aliens in Utah going anywhere, irrespective of the social costs, which include fewer work opportunities for America's teenagers.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2014 12:26 a.m.

    Your comments ignore the famous multi-ton gorilla in the room - that being the relocation of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries by American capital. These jobs are not returning unless we can somehow tolerate $1.00 per hour jobs.

    The greatest single threat to American young men and the traditional family is global capital.