The “skills gap” is a myth that won’t go away

Krugman calls it a zombie idea, “an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” It’s the “skills gap”, a myth that says the reason jobs go unfilled is because workers don’t have the right skills.

Think about what we would expect to find if there really were a skills shortage. Above all, we should see workers with the right skills doing well, while only those without those skills are doing badly. We don’t.

Yes, workers with a lot of formal education have lower unemployment than those with less, but that’s always true, in good times and bad. The crucial point is that unemployment remains much higher among workers at all education levels than it was before the financial crisis. The same is true across occupations: workers in every major category are doing worse than they were in 2007.

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