Jobs and Stuff

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Timothy Aeppel of the Wall Street Journal. He called me to get some comments about my participation in the YPO Global Pulse, a business survey of the 17,000 CEO members of YPO. The survey measures economic growth and business success by getting a perspective from a large group of CEO’s. Job growth is on everyone’s wish list right now, but slow sales growth, anemic margins, and high productivity are conspiring to thwart any reduction in unemployment rates. Aeppel wrote about the survey results and quoted me in his blog post.

People always ask me, “How is business?” Well, in 2010, it is a little better than 2009, but still a heck of a lot worse than 2008 and 2007. We are clawing our way back, but business will likely never be the same. Of course, it always changes, but 2009 was a major change. The fundamentals are different now. The search for skilled manufacturing labor is even more challenging. Customer pressure is extraordinary. Costs are rising again. Manufacturing companies, especially those in New England, who survive and thrive, will have to reinvent themselves again.

A lot has been written about middle skill jobs. These are jobs that require more skills than a high school diploma, but don’t require a college degree. Examples are machinists, quality assurance inspectors, computer technicians, welders, etc. We have more than 60 positions like this at Horst Engineering. These jobs are viewed as more secure than low wage jobs and easier to obtain than jobs requiring college credentials. This is where the greatest skill gap lies. Our economy needs a lot more people with better than average skills who are willing to make a strong contribution for fair wages. Higher education needs to reform itself. We are over-educating people in areas that have no practical relevance to the needs of many businesses. Arguably, academia is doing what it can to protect academia jobs and keep their own wages from shrinking. What a shame.

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Two days of #crawfordnotch views sandwiched with @appalachianmountainclub meeting. Cycling on Rt. 302, #trailrunning on the Crawford Path, and Mount Willard. #newhampshire 🚴🏽🏃🏻⛰ Sites and sounds from Day 2 @gpgloucester #gpgloucester The fog was burning off by the end of the Cub Juniors 9-14 year old race.

#horstspikes #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross #horstengineering #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #madeinconnecticut #madeinnewengland #madeinusa 🇺🇸 It was great to see so many friends at today’s Western #Massachusetts Athletic Club Monroe (Dunbar Brook) Trail Race. We all ran the 2-Miler. We couldn’t stay long after the finish, but we did see Kelsey Allen win overall in the 10.5 Mile main event. Hooray! #trailrunning 🏃🏻 Before and after the Western #Massachusetts Athletic Club’s Monroe (Dunbar Brook) Trail Race in the #Berkshires I rode (very wet) over from Savoy Mountain State Forest where we camped last night. On the ride along the #DeerfieldRiver I checked out #ZoarGap and then we walked down to the river to see the Tooth. Sadly, the kayakers had already passed through. The foliage turned overnight. #trailrunning #cycling 🚴🏽🏃🏻⛰ #Cyclocross racing in the morning and downhill #mountainbiking @thundermountainbikepark in the afternoon. We got in two late afternoon runs on rental bikes and are pumped to return for more fun in the future. #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #thundermountainbikepark #berkshireeast 🚵‍♀️⛰ 30 kids in the 9-12 year old Race at the #mansfieldhollow #Cyclocross That’s just awesome! @the_ccap #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #crossisboss This image was from pregame, but approaching halftime @uconnfootball there aren’t many more fans than you see here. 35 (Memphis ) to 21 (UCONN) is a lot of points in 30 minutes of #football #uconn This morning I got to hear Warren Rustand, inspirational entrepreneur and fellow @ypoglobal member, speak at a #ypo Connecticut River Valley Chapter meeting. It was fitting that the event was @riverfrontrecapture and literally ON the #connecticutriver I walked from @horsteng via my favorite train bridge. The 10 minute trip back to the plant was ample time to reflect on the #leadership lessons that he shared with our group. @garyrome and I decided that we should memorialize our time with this dedicated athlete, by requesting that he join our photo. #horstengineering #business Fantastic but FRUSTRATING race at The Night Weasels Cometh #cyclocross Was charging hard but punctured with two to go and rode 3/4ths of a lap on my rear flat before getting to my pit bike. I just glued this tubular two nights ago. Grrrr! Gave up more than a dozen spots. This string of bad luck will end and my fitness will pay off. Still not a bad ending to a work day. Onward! #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #nightweasels 🚴🏽 🌕

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