I can't find a doctor to work for me for $30 an hour. According to the NYT this would mean that the United States has a doctor shortage. That appears to be the logic of a major article asserting that Europe's economy is suffering from a shortage of skilled workers even as its unemployment rate is near 12 percent.

The piece never once mentions the trends in wages for workers with the skills that are allegedly in short supply. As a practical matter, there has been a shift from wages to profits over the last three decades which accelerated with the downturn. In the United States, which also supposedly suffers from a skills shortage, even workers with degrees in science, math, and engineering, are not seeing their wages keep pace with economy-wide productivity growth.

It is understandable that employers will always want lower cost labor just as most of us would be happy to save money by having qualified doctors work for us at $30 an hour. However the desire of companies to increase profits further doesn't mean there is a shortage of skilled workers anymore than the lack of doctors willing to work for $30 an hour implies a shortage of doctors.

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