The Financial Times is the latest medium to point out that America may have an economically lost generation. “The jobless rate for Americans age 16 to 24 is above 16 per cent, more than twice the national rate,” the paper reports. Some of these people are out of work because they cannot find any. Others are out of work because they think they cannot find the jobs they deserve. The lost generation may be lost because its members do not want to find themselves — at least in the workplace.
Earlier this month, newspapers and Internet news sites almost all ran a story that said there are 200,000 unfilled jobs for truck drivers in the United States. People do not want these jobs because of the grueling travel and the number of days drivers are away from home. But to become a driver requires a 10-week course that costs only $5,000. Some of that tuition can be paid by guaranteed government loans. That will put many young people further into debt, but it likely will get them jobs as well.
A second-year truck driver who works at what is considered to be a standard pace makes nearly $45,000 a year. The median annual wage average for all American workers was just over $26,000 in 2010, so truck driver pay is relatively good by national standards.
The truck driver shortage is only a part of the large number of jobs in America that currently are not filled. Fortune recently pointed out that there are more than 3 million open positions in the U.S. Among those position that have more jobs than people are electricians, carpenters and nurses. Each requires some degree of training. Others require much less experience. The Society for Human Resource Management claims there is a significant shortage of salespeople, according to the Fortune report.
It is fair enough for unemployed young people to say they cannot take jobs that require years of additional school work. As for truck drivers, there is just that ten-week course.
Douglas A. McIntyre