In a brutal job market, here's a task that might sound easy: Fill jobs in nursing, engineering and energy research that pay $55,000 to $60,000, plus benefits. Yet even with 15 million people hunting for work, even with the unemployment rate nearing 10%, some employers can't find enough qualified people for good-paying career jobs. Economists say the main problem is a mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it.
Millions of jobs that once drew legions of workers to the auto industry, construction, Wall Street and other sectors are gone, probably for good. And those who lost those jobs generally lack the right experience for new positions. "Workers are going to have to find not just a new company, but a new industry," says one analyst. "A 50-year-old guy who has been screwing bolts into the side of a car panel is not going to be able to become a health care administrator overnight."