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Alaska faces skilled-worker shortage
Christian Science Monitor ^ | 01/25/2007 | Yereth Rosen

Posted on 01/29/2007 11:27:14 AM PST by SirLinksalot

Alaska faces skilled-worker shortage

The state's pay premium, which drew outsiders in the 1970s, has dwindled to almost nothing.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

Union apprentices training to build their carpentry skills in this part of Alaska have a nickname for more seasoned co-workers they meet on job sites. "We call them the 'Geriatric Crew,' " says Clint Meyer, one of the 20- and 30-somethings working out of a union- operated training center in south Anchorage.

It's an apt description. While Alaska's economy has grown – and its construction business has blossomed – over the last two decades, the pool of skilled construction laborers has not. Now, so many tradesmen are nearing retirement age that the state is struggling simply to replace them. If building takes off, Alaska could face a worker shortfall similar to the 1970s when Americans from the Lower 48 flocked here to take advantage of high-paying jobs.

There's just one problem: Alaska's pay premium has all but disappeared in the past decade.

"We've become closer to average than we used to be," says Neal Fried, a state labor economist. Attractive jobs are plentiful elsewhere. "Look at Seattle. We used to get our workers from there. Now some here go there."

The graying skilled labor force is a national issue, economists say, but it is accentuated in Alaska, where aging baby boomers dominate demographics more than most states. That demographic bulge, particularly prevalent in construction and other blue-collar trades, is now nearing retirement.

"I keep pulling up the average age of our members, this huge aging, graying group, and they're two years younger than me," says John Palmatier, executive secretary/treasurer for the Alaska Regional Council of Carpenters. "Then I look in the mirror and there's this old guy looking back at me."

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: alaska; shortage; skills; worker

1 posted on 01/29/2007 11:27:15 AM PST by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot
If building takes off, Alaska could face a worker shortfall similar to the 1970s when Americans from the Lower 48 flocked here to take advantage of high-paying jobs...There's just one problem: Alaska's pay premium has all but disappeared in the past decade.

Then the pay premium will re-appear. Of stuff that is not profitable at the premium wage rate won't get built.

More likely, some Democrat(ic) Congressman will insert a provision into some obscure bill allowing construction companies to import low-cost labor from American Samoa, or some such place.

2 posted on 01/29/2007 11:31:27 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: ASOC

ping


3 posted on 01/29/2007 11:33:37 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: bondjamesbond

They can come in from Samoa anyway. More likely they'll come in from Mexico and depress wages, fill the schools, create needs for bilingual teachers, EMT's, etc.


4 posted on 01/29/2007 11:35:19 AM PST by MSF BU
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To: SirLinksalot

Construction is one of the fields that's seeing a huge increase of illegal aliens. My neighbor, a self-employed roofer for 30 years, has begun to lose contracts to them. Of course, sometimes he gets hired to redo the work when the roof starts leaking and the originally hired company has disappeared. Look out, Alaska.


5 posted on 01/29/2007 11:37:49 AM PST by American Quilter (You can't negotiate with people who are dedicated to your destruction.)
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To: SirLinksalot

A few hundred thousand illegal Mexicans will "solve" this problem.


6 posted on 01/29/2007 11:37:55 AM PST by ozzymandus
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To: bondjamesbond

But it's too far to swim . . .


7 posted on 01/29/2007 11:38:29 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: ozzymandus
A few hundred thousand illegal Mexicans will "solve" this problem.

Isn't this then, a good argument IN FAVOR OF Bush's Guest worker Program ?
8 posted on 01/29/2007 11:39:08 AM PST by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot

The illegals would have to traverse Canada to get to Alaska, unless they go by water (or air).

The Canadians might just say to them, "take off, eh!"


9 posted on 01/29/2007 11:40:35 AM PST by Disambiguator
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To: American Quilter

I have a 40 yr old friend that has been in construction ever since he started working. About 10 yrs ago here the pay sscale and contract prices started taking dumps. About 3 yrs ago he figured out 2 things:
1. he was working with nothing but illegals who didn't know jack and couldn't speak English
2. he could no longer make a decent wage, the pay scale kept going down whether it was wages or contract prices

The only people here who do not use illegals now are contractors who do insurance work and that is because most of the time the workers are working inside the home where families live and they can't/won't take the chance on anything happening. The insurance contracts are too lucrative to take chances.


10 posted on 01/29/2007 11:44:11 AM PST by sheana
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To: SirLinksalot

The whole area has a skilled labor shortage, Below AK in BC they are scrambling for trades people... If I eve had to go back to BC I'd be working in construction, pipefitting/plumbing as that is in high demand. It also helps when you have family in the construction business.


11 posted on 01/29/2007 11:44:55 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: ozzymandus

Will never happen with our weather pattern, I had a group of legal Mex workers doing some work at my concrete plant 35 miles north of Anchorage, they absolutely refuse to work in subzero temps and shudder when they hear we get just a couple of hours of weak daylight in the winter, there is a reason why certain races populate certain parts of the planet. I agree its hard to find skilled workers but then again we just reached the peak of a building boom and the market is flooded with vacant new homes and our industry is really quite minimal other than tourism and fishing. The MSM as usual knows nothing about Alaska.
As a whole the people that live here prefer to keep the state from expanding, more people means less each individual gets from the yearly check of oil profits we call the Permanent Fund Dividend.


12 posted on 01/29/2007 11:51:30 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: sheana
My brother is a carpenter. He sees the same thing.

His business is home remodeling/repair, if you do not speak English and have good personal hygiene habits, you do not work for him.

He has more work than he has crews for.
13 posted on 01/29/2007 11:57:20 AM PST by fireforeffect (A kind word and a 2x4, gets you more than just a kind word.)
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To: SirLinksalot

If they were legal, and actually wanted to live in the Alaskan climate, then I guess so.


14 posted on 01/29/2007 11:59:42 AM PST by ozzymandus
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To: bondjamesbond
More likely, some Democrat(ic) Congressman will insert a provision into some obscure bill allowing construction companies to import low-cost labor from American Samoa

Not from Samoa. Pelosi needs the Samoans to get low-wage processing for Starkist Tuna, which is owned by Del Monte, which is headquartered in her district and has a very major shareholder in Pelosi's husband.

15 posted on 01/29/2007 12:05:51 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: SirLinksalot

Not mentioned, but one reason you'd likely have problems getting skilled workers to move up there is because Alaska has a reputation in the States for being the Land Without Women.


16 posted on 01/29/2007 12:11:36 PM PST by SpringheelJack
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To: SpringheelJack

(J. Horton)

Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Big Sam left Seattle in the year of '92,
With George Pratt, his partner, and brother, Billy, too.
They crossed the Yukon River and found the bonanza gold.
Below that old white mountain just a little south-east of Nome.

Sam crossed the majestic mountains to the valleys far below.
He talked to his team of huskies as he mushed on through the snow.
With the northern lights a-running wild in the land of the midnight sun,
Yes, Sam McCord was a mighty man in the year of nineteen-one.

Where the river is winding,
Big nuggets they're finding.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

George turned to Sam with his gold in his hand,
Said: "Sam you're a-lookin'at a lonely, lonely man.
"I'd trade all the gold that's buried in this land,
"For one small band of gold to place on sweet little Ginnie's hand.

"'Cos a man needs a woman to love him all the time.
"Remember, Sam, a true love is so hard to find.
"I'd build for my Ginnie, a honeymoon home.
"Below that old white mountain just a little south-east of Nome."

Where the river is winding,
Big nuggets they're finding.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)


17 posted on 01/29/2007 12:16:14 PM PST by rahbert
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To: SirLinksalot
This seems to be a trend in lots of places, not just Alaska.

Young people today don't want to work in the trades. Personally I think the parents have more to do with it than anyone else, where I work there seems to be this uniform consensus that if you make a living with your hands you must be dumb.

I used to be a GC for 16 years so I would never have the pretense to look down on anyone who makes an honest living.
18 posted on 01/29/2007 12:17:41 PM PST by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: thackney

America faces a skilled worker shortage.


19 posted on 01/29/2007 12:28:15 PM PST by CPT Clay (Drill ANWR, Personal Accounts NOW.)
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To: SpringheelJack

We are a little under the average, but at 48.3% female, we are much different than days of yore.

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02000.html


20 posted on 01/29/2007 12:33:58 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SirLinksalot
If building takes off

It's over. Alaska has come and gone. The present 20s-30s will be geriatrics themselves before the next boom cycle.

21 posted on 01/29/2007 12:36:22 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: SpringheelJack

Not true in most of Alaska, Houston TX to me was extemely bad about the ratio of men and women, I actually think its stabilized at about 40/60% women/men here in Alaska. Not for more than 20 years was it mostly men, then women moved here looking for men.


22 posted on 01/29/2007 12:43:39 PM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: thackney

I didn't see your post and thank you very much for finding that link! Now people can see in detail basically how really redneck Alaska is! At least I was close at 40% for the women though it makes ense now, we actually have a whole lot of women!


23 posted on 01/29/2007 12:46:55 PM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: Eye of Unk

"As a whole the people that live here prefer to keep the state from expanding, more people means less each individual gets from the yearly check of oil profits we call the Permanent Fund Dividend."

Oh, how I miss the PFD! How much was it last year?


24 posted on 01/29/2007 12:57:32 PM PST by FarRightFanatic ("I'm Barack Hussein Obama...and I approved this taqiyya.")
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To: SirLinksalot

They are screaming for crews on oil rigs as we speak.


25 posted on 01/29/2007 1:26:55 PM PST by Sword_Svalbardt (Sword Svalbardt)
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To: Eye of Unk

I understand it used to be much different.

I've heard tale that the women up here used to have the saying:

"The odds are good, but the goods are odd."


26 posted on 01/29/2007 1:30:23 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SirLinksalot

Horse crap pure and simple. There are a whole lot of NON-UNION workers around. Also they get paid better a lot of times.


27 posted on 01/29/2007 1:30:55 PM PST by vpintheak (Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked)
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To: SirLinksalot

bookmark for later printing.


28 posted on 01/29/2007 1:40:30 PM PST by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: HEY4QDEMS
that if you make a living with your hands you must be dumb

I've run into that attitude. The most pronounced was a few years ago when I was doing some insurance repair for this guy. He seemed to feel it was necessary to describe to me in detail things that any tyro would feel were incredibly obvious. I managed to let it pass without any comment that was unequivocally sarcastic (a personal triumph in self restraint).

One year later I found myself at his house doing a report for his insurance company, wearing a tie and jacket. He asked me my opinion of his policy, and when he found my area of expertise was in construction, asked me some questions in that area. He even wanted me to inspect my own work! He didn't have a clue that I'd been there before.

Clothes do indeed make the man.

29 posted on 01/29/2007 1:43:42 PM PST by magslinger (I am NOT running for President, nor have I formed an exploratory committee)
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To: SirLinksalot
so many tradesmen are nearing retirement age that the state is struggling simply to replace them

Rural Missouri is like that, too.

30 posted on 01/29/2007 1:46:35 PM PST by Tax-chick ("It is my life's labor to bring Christ to souls and souls to Christ through word and example.")
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To: bondjamesbond
Then the pay premium will re-appear.

Isn't that the truth? I'm tired of all the sob stories from businesses that want slave labor.

31 posted on 01/29/2007 1:47:31 PM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: FarRightFanatic

I think it was $1103.00, I just filed for my earlybird, I am guessing we might see it up near $1500 because of the price of gas but then again maybe not for another year for the investments to return. Of course also there seems to actually be less people moving here as well and that may allow it to go higher still.


32 posted on 01/29/2007 2:04:25 PM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: thackney

I would say the same for a lot of women up here! Some are downright nutty!


33 posted on 01/29/2007 2:06:05 PM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: Disambiguator
The illegals would have to traverse Canada to get to Alaska, unless they go by water (or air).

The Canadians might just say to them, "take off, eh!"

Yes, indeed! Canada is very strict with illegal immigrants. Before the last Mexican election, Fox complained that it was a violation of humn rights to detain and deport Mexicans illegally in Canada. Harper basically told him to pound sand. If you are in the country illegally, you will be deported.

34 posted on 01/29/2007 2:08:42 PM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what an Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: bondjamesbond
Then the pay premium will re-appear. Of stuff that is not profitable at the premium wage rate won't get built.

Bingo. That's the free, fair market at work. It works quite well too.

35 posted on 01/29/2007 3:28:46 PM PST by Lexinom
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To: SpringheelJack
The only kind of woman I've seen illegals favor has greasy yellow hair, wears spandex, has a face like a hundred miles of bad road, and would field dress around 400lbs. Other than that your average American gal should be safe.
36 posted on 01/29/2007 5:11:20 PM PST by Vote 4 Nixon (EAT...FISH...SLEEP...REDUX)
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To: rahbert

aaaah a johny horton fan...

thanks

teeman


in 1959 we took a little hike,
with our scout master down to lake ohmegomike.
we took a little pizza and we took some sauerkrauts,
and we marched along together til we heard the girl scouts.

-homer and jethro paroding the battle of new orleans


37 posted on 01/29/2007 6:14:14 PM PST by teeman8r
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