To get a job at Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Alabama, this summer, you'll have to best over two dozen other competitors.
Yes, the plant that manufactures Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV, Elantra sedan and Sonata sedan received over 22,000 applications after announcing 877 job openings, CNNMoney reports. Those fortunate enough to land a gig will have one of two positions: a production-line assembly job at $16 an hour, or a maintenance worker at $22.
The scramble for a job at Hyundai’s plant comes at a time when jobs prospects appear to be dimming once again, as the May’s jobs report disappointed many. But the root cause of such high unemployment remains a matter of debate.
On the one hand, almost half of U.S. companies reported having difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill positions, especially those that required skilled workers, a recent report from ManpowerGroup found. Siemens CEO Eric Spiegel, for example, last year complained that his company was having trouble finding workers, while a Hyundai spokesman confirmed that maintenance positions had been difficult to fill at the very Montgomery factory that's seen so many applications, according to CNNMoney.
Yet many say employers may be exaggerating the extent of a so-called “skills mismatch." Both the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Chicago released papers this year concluding such arguments had been significantly overstated. Similarly, an IMF report found last year that structural issues only help to explain 25 percent of the problem.
Others are even more dismissive of the structural unemployment theory. Take Paul Krugman, who went so far as to call the idea of a skills mismatch “a fake problem.” Economist Andrew Sum similarly told The Huffington Post that a lack of skilled workers would prompt employers to increase compensation in order to attract more qualified candidates -- something that hasn’t happened.
Able or not, there’s no shortage of ready and willing workers. Last summer, 18,000 people applied for one of 1,800 jobs at a Ford plant, CNBC reports. And when McDonald’s announced it would he hiring around 60,000 workers last April, it received more than one million applicants, according to Bloomberg.Currently, there are 12.7 million Americans looking for work.