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Plenty of Good Blue-Collar Jobs



(p. A1) ELKHART, Ind.--The self-proclaimed RV capital of the world gives a glimpse of what the American economy looks like when operating at full tilt.

High-school students around here skip college for factory jobs that offer great pay and benefits. For-hire signs sprout like roadside weeds. And workers are so flush that car dealers can't keep new pickups on the lot.

At the same time, the strains are showing. Employers can't hang on to employees, and house prices are zooming. The worker shortage prompted a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant to offer $150 signing bonuses. A McDonald's failed to open for lunch last fall because managers couldn't corral enough hands at $8 an hour to serve the lines waiting at the door.

No place in the U.S. has seen a labor-market turnaround like this metropolitan region of 110,000 workers, a mix of blue-collar whites, Mexican immigrants and Amish. "It's like 1955," said Michael Hicks, a Ball State University economist. "If you show up and have minimal literacy skills, you can find a job here."



For the full story, see:

Bob Davis. "Economy's Future Plays Out in Rust Belt." The Wall Street Journal (Friday, April 6, 2018): A1 & A9.

(Note: the online version of the story was updated April 13 [sic], 2018, and has the title "The Future of America's Economy Looks a Lot Like Elkhart, Indiana.")






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