Searching for cheaper workers or more skilled workers?

More evidence that outsourcing isn’t just about saving a buck. Many employers simply can’t find enough workers in the states. Don Boudreaux points to an article in the Nov. 22 WSJ (paid subscription required) entitled “Firms’ New Grail: Skilled Workers.”

Difficulty in finding enough skilled workers is hampering the ability of many U.S. manufacturers to serve their customers. Eighty-one percent say they face “moderate” or “severe” shortages of qualified workers, according to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers and Deloitte Consulting LLP. More than half of manufacturers surveyed said 10% or more of their positions are empty for lack of the right candidates. The shortfall is especially acute in skilled trades, for positions such as welders and specialized machinists. … The recent survey, based on responses from 815 U.S. companies of varying sizes, found that companies see the biggest shortfall in skilled production workers. Eighty percent of respondents expect those workers to be in short supply over the next three years, while 35% expect a shortage of scientists and engineers. More surprising, 25% said they expect a shortage of unskilled workers over the next three years.

More on this theme here. Might also want to check out p. 35 of Offshoring and Public Fear, a recent report by Adrian and me.