“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe addressed America’s skilled labor shortage in a Facebook post Monday, saying he’s “not surprised” by it.
In a segment called “Off the Wall,” Rowe frequently answers questions from fans. “You’ve been warning us for years about the widening skills gap, a looming labor shortage, and a cultural ‘war on work.’ Are you at all surprised by the headlines today?” one fan wrote in.
Rowe began answering the question by noting the massive increase in open positions over the last 13 years. “Thirteen years ago, mikeroweWORKS began as a PR Campaign for millions of skilled jobs that people were not interested in pursuing. At the time, the number of open positions numbered 2.3 million, according to the BLS. Today, that number is approaching 11 million.”
He noted that most of those open positions do not require a four-year degree, but do require training. He argued that those jobs remain unfilled because “our modern-day definition of ‘work ethic’ was not something our parents and grandparents would recognize.”
Rowe then stated that he’s not surprised by what has happened to the workforce, and listed a number of other things he is not surprised by, including airlines canceling flights, the $1.7 trillion in student loans and industries struggling to fill positions. (RELATED: Biden Admin Providing 22,000 H-2B Visas To Help Businesses Address Pandemic Labor Shortage)
He attributed the lack of skilled labor to what Americans value. “The skills gap is not a mystery – it’s a reflection of what we value. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t value skilled labor … If you’re not grateful to the people who bring you affordable energy, plentiful food, smooth roads, heating, air-conditioning, steel production, or indoor plumbing, you probably won’t encourage your kids to explore careers in those fields.”
He also argued that many people are being paid not to work, which has contributed to the growing labor shortage.
He concluded by predicting a spike in food, energy and construction costs “before the masses wake up.”