EDITORIAL: Low-skill jobs are disappearing fast

2014-03-28T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Low-skill jobs are disappearing fast nwitimes.com
March 28, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The Times reporter Joseph Pete's story on Northwest Indiana's manufacturing sector last Sunday should be required reading for all high school students.

Unlike in previous generations, the jobs that require brawn but not brains are disappearing.

That's not to say there aren't any manufacturing jobs left. About one of every six employees in the Gary metropolitan area works in manufacturing, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

And Indiana continues to lead the nation in steel production. But it's doing so with fewer workers, and different kinds of workers at that.

Since 2001, Northwest Indiana has shed 31 percent of the jobs in the primary metals sector, according to Micah Pollack, assistant professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest.

That's partly because security and some other positions once filled in-house are now outsourced. But it's also because of automation.

"New technology improves productivity and allows firms to produce more with fewer workers," Pollak said.

The local steel mills' output is as high as it was in 1990; it just requires fewer workers to accomplish that level of productivity.

Today's steelworker no longer does all the menial work. He — or she — now controls the equipment that does that work instead.

Today's students have heard stories from their parents and grandparents about getting hired right out of high school and going to work in the mills. That paradigm is spent.

Low-skill jobs are disappearing fast, and the ones that remain don't pay well.

Education is increasingly important as technology takes over menial jobs that once employed tens of thousands of people in the region. That's clearly true in manufacturing, as Sunday's story points out, but it's true in other sectors as well. Just look at an ATM if you need a reminder of this.

Now more than ever, students must focus on getting good grades and taking classes as difficult as they can manage. Success in life takes hard work, beginning with schoolwork.

Study hard!

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Who do you support for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 1?

View Results