Fed’s Fisher Says Job Growth Has Been Hurt by Skills Mismatch

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, who votes on monetary policy this year, said the U.S. labor market has been hindered by a lack of trained workers and not enough employees in Texas where demand has been strong.

“We are seeing shortages of labor” for jobs in technology, engineering, auditing and among truck drivers, Fisher said in a speech in Austin. “We are seeing a skills mismatch around the country,” he said. Both U.S. schools and immigration policy “are not meeting our needs,” he said.

Fisher said the Fed had provided liquidity to support job creation, which he said has been held back by tax, regulatory and fiscal policies. The latest Fed Beige Book review of regional economic conditions highlighted the pinch, with six of the 12 districts -- Dallas, New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago and Kansas City -- reporting difficulty finding skilled workers.

“We at the central bank cannot affect structural unemployment,” Fisher said.

The Dallas Fed leader said he was ’’grateful’’ the central bank has begun to slow its monthly purchases of bonds, so-called quantitative easing, adding he had opposed the latest program. While Fed policies have made the affluent “much richer,” Fisher said “only time will tell” whether there has been a positive effect on the middle class.

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