Center for American Progress

The Skills Gap Myth Does Not Explain What’s Happening To Work
In the News

The Skills Gap Myth Does Not Explain What’s Happening To Work

Author Angela Hanks discusses why the so-called skills gap doesn't explain the decline in real wages or why almost half of U.S. families cannot afford basics such as food, child care, and housing.

The Department of Labor’s June 2018 jobs report appeared to offer good news on the economy: Unemployment has dipped below 4 percent for the first time since 2000. However, a quick look under the hood reveals that workers are worse off than the unemployment rate might let on. Real wages have declined in the last year, and a recent report from the United Way showed that nearly half of families in the U.S. cannot afford basics like food, housing, and childcare.

At the same time – and on both the Right and Left – policymakers, advocates, and others have repeatedly blamed unemployment on a so-called “skills gap.” If workers gained skills for which labor market demand exists, the argument goes, they would have an easier time getting a job.

The above excerpt was originally published in Forbes. Click here to view the full article.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Angela Hanks

Former Director, Workforce Development Policy