Economists are divided on whether the current hiring slowdown is a problem of supply or demand—are businesses having trouble finding enough workers, or do they simply need less of them? The Wall Street Journal’s recent survey (subscription) showed a nearly even split, though the edge went to those on the supply side. More:

  • “In The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of economists, 45.3% blamed the slowdown on the tight labor market, which has made it harder for many employers to find enough workers. An additional 37.7% of respondents said the issue was ebbing desire to expand payrolls.”
  • “The first explanation would suggest the economic expansion can continue at a solid pace if more potential workers can be drawn into the labor force from sidelines.”

The Journal quotes NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, who highlights manufacturers’ supply problem:

  • “Manufacturers have consistently cited an inability to find talent as a top concern, with some suggesting that a lack of sufficient workers has held back growth . . . . At the same time, hiring has weakened lately primarily due to global headwinds and ongoing trade uncertainties.”

Manufacturers are having trouble finding enough workers with the right skill sets, as the NAM’s quarterly outlook surveys show. The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute are working on alleviating that shortage, however, both in the short and long term.

For example, the Institute is announcing the launch of the STEM Careers Coalition with Discovery Education today, which will improve and expand STEM education in schools nationwide. The coalition’s partners include Chevron, API, Microsoft, Boeing and Best Buy. You can read more about it here.