Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money basically concludes the same thing as I about these mythical manufacturing jobs:
And yet, even as classes like Goldenbergâ€™s are filled to capacity all over America, hundreds of thousands of U.S. factories are starving for skilled workers. Throughout the campaign, President Obama lamented the so-called skills gap and referenced a study claiming that nearly 80 percent of manufacturers have jobs they canâ€™t fill. Mitt Romney made similar claims. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that there are roughly 600,000 jobs available for whoever has the right set of advanced skills. Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051 applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire 15. Part of Isbisterâ€™s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a â€œunion-type job.â€ Isbister, after all, doesnâ€™t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries. At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift manager at a nearby McDonaldâ€™s can earn around $14 an hour.
Also powerful is this post from Al Wenger of Union Square Ventures. These both lead to an unfortunate conclusion: until wages go back up I do not see how manufacturing is going to sustain our economy.