The jobs that people are thinking about when they talk about "good manufacturing jobs"--the kind where you take a C-student straight out of high school, stick him next to a machine, and the machine makes him productive enough to justify $25 an hour--have gone away, lost not just to China, but to a machine who doesn't need to sleep, eat, or take a sick day when hunting season starts.  


In this economic environment, it doesn't make sense for an employer to sit down and try to put an entry level worker through two years of calculus and machine language.  The training required is too expensive and intensive.  

It isn't just that that isn't what they're good at; it's that most of their candidates are going to find that they are not cut out for these higher end jobs--a process that currently happens in community college training programs, where many of the students flunk the math or otherwise wash out.  If employers take over this training, they'll end up spending quite a bit of money training future non-employees who just aren't cut out for a high-end manufacturing job.  

. . . along with a lot of future non-employees who are.  Anyone who makes it through your training program will now have a valuable skill they can take anywhere.  Another employer can probably pay them more than you can, since they didn't have to, y'know, pay for all that expensive training.  This is why apprenticeships used to essentially involve signing on for seven years of slavery; it allowed the employer to enjoy some of the benefits of the investment in training.

In the modern world, where that sort of thing is illegal, the employee is the only one who can permanently appropriate the benefits of the human capital investment.  Economic logic tells us that therefore, they're the ones who should pay the cost, and take the risk, of acquiring it.

Read the whole thing. Via Why Can't Companies Find the Workers they Need? - The Daily Beast.