The Agenda

Stray Missives for 23 July 2012

Over the weekend, The Daily published my column on what Mitt Romney can learn from Michael Bloomberg.

And earlier today, CNN.com published my column on how the decline in manufacturing employment during the 2000s was masked by the housing boom.

I belatedly noticed that Ray Fisman of Slate wrote a very good article on a closely related theme, focused more on how we might improve the labor market prospects of less-skilled workers:

We’ve spent the last decade funneling too many workers into construction jobs that may never come back. These workers now lack the skills required in Katz’s economy of the future. And perhaps the most depressing statistic that Hurst points to in describing the plight of low-skill Americans is that, after falling steadily for 15 years, the fraction of men who stopped their educations by the end of high school went up by a few percent between 1997 and 2006, before resuming its decline. Why? Presumably more school looks less attractive to an 18-year-old if he can get a decent job doing construction. Not exactly a lost generation, but these are yet more young males who will need retraining to get decent jobs or even stay in the workforce.

Be sure to take a look if you have the time.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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