Midwest jobs plentiful, but no takers

By PoliticsFOXBusiness

Midwest's unexpected problem: Too many open jobs, not enough people

Sukup Manufacturing President Charles Sukup and Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson on the number of open jobs in the Midwest outnumbering the number of unemployed workers and the impact of a potential trade war with China.

If you’re in search of a job, you might consider looking in the Midwest, which is facing an unusual crisis unseen in any other region of the country: There are too many open jobs, and not enough people to fill them, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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“Our problem is much more serious than just the simple supply and demand,” Dave Swenson, an associate scientist at Iowa State University told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday. “What we have is an absence supply. We’ve had high migration from our rural areas, that’s an out-migration pattern that’s been going on for over a quarter of a century. But it’s become much more acute over the past decade.”

There’s not an idle workforce, or a learning curve in employees who need training in order to advance -- there is actually an absence of workers, Swenson said. That’s in part because young, skilled employees -- generally between the ages 25 and 44 -- are fleeing rural areas in favor of bigger cities en masse.

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The U.S. labor market, meanwhile, is the tightest it’s been in nearly two decades, with the national unemployment rate holding at a 17-year-low of 4.1% for six straight months, compared to a jobless rate of 2.9% in Iowa.

At a Sukup Manufacturing, a grain producing company in Sheffield, Iowa, a town of about 1,200 just 100 miles north of Des Moines, the company president continuously struggles to grow his firm because of the lack of potential employees.

Currently, the company employs about 600 people and has hired 91 employees since the beginning of the year, Charles Sukup said. Although he tries to hire about 10 people per week, it’s not feasible, thanks to the worker shortage.“We have a very difficult time finding new employees,” Sukup said.

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