SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. And
welcome to special edition of NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Sue Herera.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: And I`m Tyler Mathisen.
Welcome for me as well on this Labor Day.
We`re taking a close look at labor — the backbone of the American economy.
HERERA: And while the official numbers do point to a job market that is
strong even at or near full employment, it doesn`t feel that way for
everyone. A lot of people have been out of work for a long time, even as
millions of jobs remain unfilled, and there are a few major reasons why.
HERERA (voice-over): Reason number one: the skills gap. Employers often
say they can`t find the right employees to fill those openings. Technology
and automation, as well as an aging population are changing the economy,
which helps explain why the most job openings appear in the professional
and businesses services sector and in health care.
A second major problem; labor force participation. The Labor Department
says about 63 percent of our eligible workers are actually employed or
looking for work, a number largely unchanged in the past three years.
Some aren`t looking because of reason number three — stubbornly low wages.
Why isn`t a tightening labor market pushing wages up faster? Some say it`s
because newly hired workers and there are millions of them make less than
longer-term employees, holding overall wages down.
And the labor pool may shrink even more due to tighter immigration rules,
which brings us to reason number four — an increasingly muddled policy
picture. Can the Fed continue raising interest rates? Can the White House
and Congress pass tax reform, fix health care, and get going on
infrastructure fixes? And will mounting geopolitical tensions affect the
decisions made by hiring managers across the country?
MATHISEN: Let`s bring in our panel now for more discussion on the state of
the labor market. We have Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody`s
Analytics, John Bremen, he`s managing director and practice leader of human
capital and benefits at Willis Towers Watson, and Jon Nobis is the CEO of
the franchise trucking company Two Men and a Truck.
Have I ever seen a lot of your trucks around? Congratulations on that.
Let me start though, Mark, because I think it might be a good sort of have
you paint an overall picture of where the labor market stands right now in
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY`S ANALYTICS: It`s a good picture,
Tyler. We`re creating lots of jobs over to 2 million, 2-1/2 million per
annum. We`ve been doing that now for seven and a half straight years. All
kinds of jobs, low-paying jobs for sure, but middle paying and high paying
jobs, and at the rate current rate of job growth, unemployment and
underemployment continue to decline.
So, the unemployment rate is now closing in on 4 percent, which by, you
know, any estimation is pretty close to full employment. Wage growth has
been a little punk, but it is also picking up slowly but steadily.
So, all in all, it`s in — my view — a good job market.
HERERA: Mr. Bremen, if I could turn you to the skills gap which we listed
as one of the four major reasons why we have a dislocation, if you will, to
a certain extent in the job market, do you see in your work a skills gap or
is an industry specific?
JOHN BREMEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR & PRACTICE LEADER, WILLIS TOWERS WATSON:
Yes, and thanks so much for having me. We are most certainly seeing a
skill gap across virtually every industry today, even though there are
people trying to find jobs quite badly, companies are trying even harder to
find employees and they`re just — they`re just not able to find them.
MATHISEN: Jon, let me — Jon Nobis, let me turn to you. Are you hiring?
JON NOBIS, CEO, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK: We are absolutely hiring and I`m glad
you see our trucks all over the place.
MATHISEN: I sure you do.
NOBIS: And if we could find more people — if we could find more people,
you`d see more of them.
MATHISEN: Are you — well, that`s to my point then. My next point will
be, are you having a hard time finding people who want to do the hard work
that your company does, moving and storage and so forth.
NOBIS: It is very difficult work and that`s why people invite us into
their home every day to be able to do that moving. And so, it`s difficult
to find those people but we`ve — we`re identifying the great people in
this country that will do the work, but at the same time for us to grow, we
know that because of the tight labor market, we`ve got to find alternative
ways to deliver that same service, and we`re introducing those methods to
the country through things like our value flex interstate program.
HERERA: Yes. Tell me more about that and have you had to, Mr. Nobis, pay
a higher wage because it is so hard to find the right workers?
NOBIS: Yes. So, what we`ve had to do is really incentivize and come up
with ways to retain the great workers we have and then without having to
hire thousands of more people to do the work through alternative ways of
instead of sending our guys across the country for instance to deliver the
belongings from, you know, one side of the country to the other, we`ve had
to outsource and find ways to do that delivery while we`ll still provide
the loading and the unloading on either end, given that we`ve got that
MATHISEN: Before I go back to Mark Zandi, John Bremen, you know Jon Nobis
just pointed out that they`re having a hard time finding people to do the
hard work that his company requires. And I suspect you see that in lots of
industries that today`s younger workers may not want to work in
manufacturing, they may not want to work on farms and in construction. Am
I right or wrong about that?
BREMEN: Yes, Tyler, I think you`re right. You know we`re sort of seeing a
perfect storm right now where we have one generation retiring, the baby
boomers retiring at the rate of one every nine seconds between now and 2029
MATHISEN: I figure another 20 seconds, Jon.
BREMAN: — and the newer generations just cannot replace those workers
with those skills, and that experience in manufacturing or farm work or
technology or really anything right now. So, what you`re hearing is real
across all sectors.
HERERA: Mark, let me turn to you then. You make the point that one —
that this is not going to improve anytime soon because we do have a robust
job market, along with those underlying things that we just talked about.
You say part of the solution would be more immigration not less, yet we
find ourselves in an environment where that may not happen.
ZANDI: Yes, that`s a big mistake. You know, the — as was pointed out,
the baby boom generation is retiring on mass and labor force growth is
already slowing and will come to a virtual standstill five, 10 years from
now, even at the current rate of immigration. So, if we actually reduce
the amount of immigrants come in the country, the labor force will actually
just decline, which would make us feel very much like a Japan or, you know,
like a Japanese economy.
So, I think it`s clear that going forward, that we`re going to need a lot
more immigrants, and certainly skilled immigration, I don`t think there`s
any debate about that. But even unskilled, I think it`s going to be
difficult to find the kind of labor that we need to build homes and drive
trucks and, you know, pick the vegetables and fruit and do all those kind
of jobs that we need to get done. We`re just not going to have the people
to do it.
So, immigration is key and we need more immigrants, not less.
MATHISN: Jon Nobis, I don`t mean to invite you into the political thicket,
but I — but I do mean to ask how important our new people to the United
States, immigrants, in helping you fill your labor needs. Do you — do you
hire a lot of new immigrants or what? Are they more willing to do the jobs
than the native-born Americans?
NOBIS: You know, look, and CEOs and CEOs across the country I`m sure deal
with the same thing. We deal the hand were dealt. And so, we leave it to
the smart people to figure out the regulations and figure out what that
regulation should be. What we do is say, how are we going to address
what`s coming in 2020 and 2015?
And the way to solve some of those things is through technology. So, we`re
keeping a close eye and working with partners on autonomous vehicles. So,
you mentioned, do we have the people to do the driving?
We`re looking at automated ways to move things. We really get a embrace
the technology curve that`s coming and that`s already here. And even
little things like using the social media platform to find the right people
that can do the customer service and in the heavy lifting.
It`s really — it comes down to matching that technology piece with keeping
local and really finding the right people to perform those tough tasks.
MATHISEN: All right. Gentlemen, we have to leave it there. Mark Zandi
with Moody`s Analytics, John Bremen with Willis Towers Watson, and Jon
Nobis with Two Men and a Truck.
HERERA: Wisconsin unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country,
thanks to a manufacturing renaissance of sorts. But it wasn`t always like
Brian Sullivan recently traveled to Kenosha to see how business owners are
BRIAN SULLIVAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stung
by plant closings and job losses, Wisconsin turned red for the White House
for the first time since 1984. Things were pretty bleak here for a number
Not anymore. After peaking at more than 9 percent in 2009, Wisconsin`s
unemployment rate is now one of the lowest in America. And here in the
southeast corner of the state, the problem is not finding a job, it`s
JIM HAWKNS, CEO, KENALL MANUFACTURING: There is a strain on our labor
force right now. There`s a skilled labor shortage in the region, in the
state, and throughout the country that needs to be addressed. We cannot
find skilled qualified labor.
SULLIVAN: President Trump is taking credit for part of the recovery and a
million jobs created around the nation.
So, when Republican Governor Scott Walker joined us at a manufacturing
facility in Kenosha, we asked him, how much of Wisconsin`s recovery comes
from D.C. and how much is due to the big changes and hard decisions made on
the state level over the past few years?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We started this years ago. Companies
like Kenall Manufacturing where —
SULLIVAN (on camera): We`re right now.
WALKER: — we`re at right now — where they make industrial lights, one of
the great companies in the country, they moved up from Illinois because
they saw the change. We`re a state where the tax burdens gone down, the
regulatory environment improved, lawsuits — frivolous lawsuits have gone
away, the workforce has improved.
SULLIVAN (voice-over): Whomever you give the credit to, it is undeniable
there is a bit of a manufacturing renaissance taking place here.
And the renaissance that students at Gateway Technical College are excited
to be a part of.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like a lot of manufacturing is coming back to
America, where it was before, everybody wanted to go overseas where it`s
cheap. And now, they`re realizing you actually need skilled workers which
you can find right here in America, in Wisconsin.
SULLIVAN (on camera): And with the skills, they`re learning, they`ll
likely have their choice of jobs. Amazon has a massive new facility up the
road with a few thousand workers. Many companies are moving here like this
one which relocated from Illinois for the lower taxes.
(voice-over): But the truth on the ground here in the Badger State is that
the recovery is real and people remain optimistic that Washington will keep
its promises. Whether that will happen is also still up in the air.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Brian Sullivan, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
MATHISEN: Still ahead, we`ll tell you where the jobs are in health care.
HERERA: As we`ve been reporting a tight labor market is one of the reasons
why businesses are having a hard time finding qualified workers.
Kate Rogers traveled to Denver, Colorado, an area where the problem is
especially acute, to speak with business owners about that skills gap.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For
Denise Burgess, the biggest challenge in running her construction
management firm is simply finding the right people for the job. Her
business, Burgess Services, is a second generation family owned company
with 12 to 15 year-round employees. But depending on the size of the
project she`s working on, Burgess can need more than 100 subcontractors at
a time and that`s when things get complicated.
DENISE BURGESS, BURGESS SERVICES CEO: They`re younger, not as trained, not
as seasoned as previously, and it`s also a career path that`s not
glamorous. It`s not Silicon Valley software. It`s not Facebook. It`s
something that you`re going to work hard but you also get paid really well
So, it`s a hard thing — it`s a hard sell, not impossible sell.
ROGERS (on camera): Burgess isn`t alone in struggling with the workplace
skills gap. In fact, finding skilled labor has become a top three issue
for Main Street, behind taxes and government regulations. And here in
Denver, it`s an extremely tight labor market with unemployment at just over
TODD MCCRACKEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION: This is
really good news that companies are looking to hire, but it`s a real
struggle for them sometimes. It`s always a particular problem for smaller
companies that don`t have the networks the large companies do.
ROGERS (voice-over): West of Denver, in Evergreen, Colorado, Tony Song
employs 12 full time workers at his bike shop, Evergreen Bicycle
Outfitters. Song knows those with particular skill sets including his top
two mechanics would be nearly impossible to replace.
TONY SONG, OWNER, EVERGREEEN BICYCLE OUTFITTERS: As it stands today, with
the labor market being what it is and how competitive it is, in the front
range, it would be very difficult for us to find a replacement for somebody
with that level of experience.
ROGERS: So, Song, like Burgess, works to offer competitive benefits like a
health care stipend, paid time off and flexibility in scheduling to hang
onto the good workers both small businesses have.
SONG: With the cycling industry being what it is, there are very few
people who are making, you know, six figures plus. So, our ability to be
able to retain employees has to come from somewhere outside of just the
dollar figure that they`re making. That ability to hold on to their
enjoyment in working in the bike shop is very key.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers, Denver.
MATHISEN: Healthcare jobs are in big demand and there is one field in
particular that is especially need — in need of workers, genetic
Kate Rogers is back, I think she`s looking for a job, Kate Rogers is back
with a look at where the jobs are in Danville, Pennsylvania.
ROGERS (voice-over): As a college student studying biology, Megan McMinn
thought she wants to become a physician`s assistant, but a desire to
interact with patients led her to genetic counseling.
MEGAN MCMINN, GEISINGER HOSPITAL GENETIC COUNSELOR: What genetic
counseling gave me was kind of a good split between patient care and the
hard science research end of things.
ROGERS: At Geisinger Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania, McMinn sees about
six patients a day, working in oncology. Soon, she`ll move on to a
cardiology clinic helping to identify genetic risks for individuals.
The field of genetics has grown dramatically over the past decade, touching
all aspects of health care as medicine becomes more personalized. And now,
genetic counselors like McMinn are in demand with the Bureau of Labor
Statistics estimating the occupation is set to grow nearly 30 percent by
the end of 2024.
MARY FREIVOGEL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SOCIETY OF GENETIC COUNSELING: As
genetics permeate everything, there won`t be enough genetic counselors to
see every patient who gets genetic information.
ROGERS: Counselors don`t need to be doctors, but do need masters degrees,
making on average $80,000 a year. Salaries can reach up to $250,000
annually, depending on location and specialties.
The National Society of Genetic Counselors is doing its part to spread the
word to students in middle and high school about genetic counseling as a
career choice, as the field grows and the number of graduate programs is
(on camera): The need for genetic counselors is already clear here at
Geisinger with 25 counselors on staff. The health system says it can`t
hire new counselors quickly enough, as genetic testing becomes cheaper and
(voice-over): The hospital is home to the MyCode Community Health
Initiative, one of the largest databases of human DNA of its kind.
DR. DAVID FEINBERG, PRESIDENT & CEO, GEISINGER HEALTH SYSTEM: Over the
next few years, we would need hundreds of genetic counselors. I think they
will become the key — a key member of the team discussing with patients
and families, you know, what to do next.
ROGERS: Geisinger also has a medical school and will soon offer a masters
in genomics to bring more counselors into the field. And while the job can
be challenging, McMinn says the ability to help more than just a patient is
a worthwhile pay off.
MCMINN: We are there for our patients. We`re there for our colleagues and
we really are able to kind of bring to the forefront that fact that we`re
not just taking care of the patient, we`re talking of the entire family.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers, Danville,
HERERA: Coming up, a bright idea for one seconds count.
HERERA: Your smartphone probably knows where you are, but our aging 911
system wasn`t built to read all of the information on your phone, and that
makes for a dangerous equation. Seventy percent of the roughly 240 million
calls that we make each year come from cell phones, and that`s why two
entrepreneurs are working to fix that problem.
HERERA (voice-over): It`s a problem that`s dogged 911 operators. Built in
the 1960s, 911 works well with landline phones. But call on a cell phone
and 911 gets only an approximate location, often using nearby cell towers,
even if the call is made at a 911 center.
JOE THOMAS, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, SUSSEX COUNTY EMERGENCY: Roughly 4,000
meters away from where we`re actually at.
HERERA: That`s why Joe Thomas`s staff at the Sussex County Emergency
Operations Center in Delaware is testing RapidSOS, a software allowing the
existing 911 system to read more data coming from smart phones.
THOMAS: It pinpoints it right on top of the building where we were
HERERA: Michael Martin got the idea after he felt like he`d been followed
home in New York City one night back in 2012.
MICHAEL MARTIN, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, RAPIDSOS: Nine-one-one call takers are
doing heroic work in light of that challenge but we`re giving them
basically no data to manage those calls.
HERERA: In grad school, he teamed with Nicholas Horelik who`d volunteered
taking calls on an emergency hotline during college.
NICHOLAS HORELIK, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, RAPIDSOS: It was the same type of
problem of someone`s calling in and they`re in distress and no idea where
HERERA: So they co-founded RapidSOS, but perhaps more important than their
tech know-how was the four years they spent taking input from government
officials, and many of the 6,500 911 call centers. In 2016, they released
a free app called Haven. Last December, Harrison Dandrea Andrea got lost
when a thick damp fog rolled in as he hiked in North Carolina`s Blue Ridge
HARRISON DANDREA, HIKER: Your mind just goes into frantic mood.
HERERA: So, he tapped the Haven app on his phone.
DANDREA: Operator told me to stay right where I was and a park ranger
would be there within to 15 minutes and they were.
HERERA: Almost 20 percent of the nation`s 911 call centers are using
RapidSOS, but it may cover most of the country by year`s end.
For some, it can`t happen soon enough. In 2014, an FCC study said fixing
911 location issues could save more than 10,000 lives a year.
TOM WHEELER, INVESTOR, RAPIDSOS: Congress talked about it, but there
hasn`t been any legislation, let alone any passage of something that would
that would make a difference.
HERERA: Tom Wheeler is one of three former FCC chairman who have invested
WHEELER: They have built a platform that can be applicable in multiple
kinds of situations, not just those 911 calls.
HERERA: Those situations upgrades to home security car monitors like
OnStar and wearable health devices are where RapidSOS hopes to make money.
HORELIK: If this were on a health wearable device, this screen is going to
have health information, heart rate, blood pressure. If it`s coming from a
connected car, now, it`s an it`s a picture of the car, where was the
impact, airbags deployed, who was wearing a seatbelt, how many people were
in the vehicle.
HERERA: The cost: about $3 to $10 a month. It could be a small price to
HORELIK: The enormity of what it is we work on here, I think that affects
everybody on our team. I mean that`s what really drives all of us.
MARTIN: This is technology that`s going to have the power to save a lot of
HERERA: RapidSOS expects to roll out upgrades to those consumer products
later this year. And there`s more that it can do for the 911 system as
well, if a phone has a camera, it can put out a video feed that an operator
can give to responders, allowing those responders to see what`s waiting for
them at the scene before they arrive.
MATHISEN: Almost 90 percent of family businesses fail by the time the
third generation takes over. One key to survival: innovation. In retail,
merely being online won`t be the enough for many companies. One
Midwesterner who found her way to New York City is using her family`s
manufacturing capabilities to make a bright idea for removable wallpaper
and make it stick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like this is like more like a story.
MATHISEN (voice-over): The story is the thing for Elizabeth Rees. But
this former journalism student never thought her story would become a third
chapter in her family`s business — the 91-year-old Kubin Nicholson
printing plant in Milwaukee.
ELIZABETH REES, FOUNDER, CHASING PAPER: I didn`t really see my family`s
business as something creative. It wasn`t even on my radar. It wasn`t on
MATHISEN: In 2010, Elizabeth`s father, Mike Rees, mentioned a sales
opening in his New York office while visiting her at grad school in Paris.
When she moved to New York, Elizabeth began a redesign of the company`s
That story begins with event and movie posters, graduates to billboards and
later, wraps, everything from trucks and buses to entire building facades.
Over time, the printers of the Humongous have adapted to numerous plot
E. REES: That is where I started to think, wow, we could be doing other
MATHISEN: Other things that Mike Rees hoped might jump-start a stagnating
business. Elizabeth dabbled into wall size maps, signs for glass doors,
but a start up looking to decorate temporary New York office space changed
E. REES: That was kind of the moment where I started dipping my toe
saying, well, what`s out there in removable wallpaper.
MATHISEN: Eight months of research unearthed the high-end and low end, but
almost nothing attractive in between.
E. REES: Something that was like bespoke, one of a kind, very specialized.
MATHISEN: Removal wallpaper designed with an artist`s touch.
E. REES: It doesn`t pull paint.
MATHISEN: Her plan: to license contemporary work by artists in New York.
E. REES: All hand water color.
MATHISEN: And print wallpaper on demand back in Milwaukee. Mike Rees was
onboard almost immediately.
MICHAEL REES, KUBIN-NICHOLSON CORP. PRESIDENT: We really had the back end
here. We had plenty of capacity for her. We have a good system. And it`s
again, print on-demand is printed and out the door it goes.
MATHISEN: Profitable almost from the start, Elizabeth`s venture sold about
$175,000 worth of her Chasing Paper in 2013.
E. REES: This year, we`re on track to do over a million.
MATHISEN: Chasing Paper`s two by four panels sell for $40 a piece on the
company Website, as well as the Urban Outfitters, West Elm and
SHELLY LYNCH-SPARKS, HYPHEN FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL: Being able to remove
something and start all over from scratch again is one of the most amazing
MATHISEN: Interior designer Shelley Lynch-Sparks has used Chasing Paper in
more than 20 projects, including the new office space she`s developing for
Rent the Runway.
LYNCH-SPARKS: I have always customizing for commercial clients and they`re
really trying to identify themselves in the space. So, we designed the
wallpaper and then we gave it to Elizabeth. And then, you know, her
designer puts a spin on it. A lot of her colors are really bold and give
it a nice pop.
MATHISEN: Chasing Paper is also working for DIY-ers at home, ordering as
few as one or many panels as it takes to help them tell their stories.
REES: People are just wallpapering in a different way. Now, it`s an
accent wall. It`s again, the backsplash in your kitchen behind your built-
in, or, you know, a kid`s room. It feels like, you know, a piece of art.
MATHISEN: In fact, Chasing Paper will introduce a new art collection this
fall and like all survivors, Elizabeth Rees is changing. She is
entertaining thoughts about moving home to Milwaukee where she may take a
more prominent role in the family business.
I think wall maker — wallpaper is making a big comeback.
HERERA: Oh, I think so too.
HERERA: And how creative she was to incorporate artists in it. I mean
it`s almost like a custom one-of-a-kind piece of art.
MATHISEN: And removable, so you can change it if you get tired of it.
HERERA: I`ve steamed a lot of wallpaper off walls. I wish that was around
what I bought my first house.
That`ll do it for us. Thanks for watching this special edition of NIGHTLY
BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Sue Herera.
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great evening, everybody, and we
will see you tomorrow.
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