Bloomberg has this story posted today about the country with the highest unemployment in the developed world experiencing a labor shortage supposedly via skills mismatch. Scott Sumner has a post on this also.

But, as usual, I am more than a bit skeptical that out of 5 million people unemployed in Spain, not one of them can do, or can be trained to do just about anything.

Back in the day of the tech boom people were being grabbed off the street to be trained in desktop support. In fact, that is how I ended up in tech. I crossed over from accounting and supply chain management and never looked back, because why fight other number crunchers for raises and promotions when, at the time, the pay for tech was much better without having to contend with the glass ceiling. Tech training and certification was a huge industry back then, with the classrooms of nearly every class I ever took budging at the seams, the doors about to burst open, and my employer paid for all of it. My first tech boss said that he couldn’t afford to get experts, but he could afford to grow them.

Take this coming from someone who was unemployed during the Great Recession – a job, any job, is better than no job, even it means taking a lower paying job to learn how to do something new, especially when you’re hungry. And I very seriously doubt that the anecdote provided in the Bloomberg article is an indicator of a national crisis involving skills mismatch, but rather a shortage of people that somebody else is paying to train, and perhaps demand isn’t so great as to make the numbers work out for the employers, in addition to bad supply side policy that makes firing citizen bad apples pretty difficult – but one can do just about anything with the Guatemalan.

Something tells me that Rajoy isn’t quite finished with labor market reforms.

PS: Bad demand side policy and bad supply side policy working together in the same country create the worst of conditions. And it isn’t any wonder then, that “populist nationalism” appears to be on the march among the ranks of average people.

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