Despite the recent good news that the unemployment rate is dropping, the labor force participation rate continues to fall. Tyler Cowen has commenters blaming the ‘dismantling’ of unions.

I wonder how well that jives with what those of you out there in the staffing industry are seeing?  I haven’t worked a desk recently, but I do talk to execs that buy a lot of staffing, and they certainly point to other problems.

My friend who manages various plants around the country for a Fortune 500 company here in the Twin Cities uses the word ‘slouchers’.  He doesn’t necessarily mean this in a – won’t-get-off-the-couch – derogatory way. He means people who for whatever reason never decided to take their careers into their own hands. Whether it be poor parenting, crime, drugs, bad schools, bad diet, wrong choice of education, or just plain laziness – take your pick – they never decided to make themselves useful to society and have figured out at least temporarily some other way to survive.

Education Bubble
I’m not sure what the answer for this is. I spoke at a high school careers conference last year and suggested that for many who were being pushed into it, a four-year blah-major university education that saddled them with a six-figure loan was probably the worst way to start adulthood.

The school principle gave me a nasty look afterwards. I’m guessing she’s comped by college admission rates and not student success in life.

Anyone have a fix for the education bubble? Speak now before the major universities start going out of business.

Bad Policy
Cowen had a commenter, Dave Anthony, who nailed this part of the equation with a dash of sarcasm:

“One of the new 'structural problems' with the labor market is a predictable and direct result of the ridiculous PPACA law. Low skilled workers are going to have a harder and harder time finding full time work because the required benefits coverage is so outrageously expensive. So they are going to have to get multiple part-time jobs just to get by. Now if we can raise the minimum wage, we can make sure they’ll never find work again."

Tags: News, Twin Cities, Tyler Cowen, Dave Anthony