We all know how hard it is to get help these days. Companies are shelling out $15 or $20 million a year for CEOs who can't seem to figure out how to tie their own shoes. Marketplace radio ran a piece on how companies are turning to older workers, people with prison records, and people who failed drug tests to find workers. While this is great news, since these people are now getting opportunities as a result of the low unemployment rate, companies seem to be ignoring the most obvious place to find workers: their competitors.
For some reason, the possibility of pulling workers away from competitors never seems to occur to employers. We have been treated to endless pieces about how trucking companies can't find workers, or how manufacturing workers can't get people with the right skills.
These people are out there in large numbers, they just happen to be working elsewhere. But there is a way to get workers to change employers: offer them higher pay. We do see this process in action sometimes. When a baseball team wants to get a great pitcher, they offer them really high pay. Universities will do this to attract star academics. And, this is ostensibly how CEO pay got pushed up into the eight-figure range.
For some reason, these same CEOs just can't figure out how to raise wages when it comes to attracting ordinary workers. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for production and non-supervisory workers in both trucking and manufacturing have risen 2.7 percent over the last year, just even with the rate of inflation. This means that real wages are not rising at all in these sectors, in spite of employers alleged difficulty in finding workers.