Well-paying blue collar jobs are going unfilled

Building supply company 84 Lumber pays entry level manager trainees $40,000 per year, with those managing top-grossing stores earning $200,000 to $1 million. But the firm is struggling to fill such positions, even as millions of college students take on debt for liberal arts degrees that won't create such opportunities, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. "The forgotten half of the high school class is suddenly valuable," Georgetown labor scholar Anthony Carnevale tells Bloomberg, "but not until they've trained up."

Why it matters: Companies like 84 Lumber are ratcheting up spending on training and workforce development as the skilled-worker shortage gets worse. College graduates make more money on average than high school graduates, but there are more opportunities today than in a generation for young workers to strategically avoid a traditional 4-year degree in favor of prospects in industries like construction.

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios