Even though the June national unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.4 percent, millions of people are still out of work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It reports that 1.7 million people have been out of work for six months or more. And many of those people may not be able to get a job for lack of having the right skills. It is a quandary facing the nation, and many argue it is hurting U.S. competitiveness.
Business leaders agree with a central finding of our America's Top States for Business studies over the past three years: The most crucial issue influencing corporate decisions about where to locate or expand operations is the ability to recruit and retain the best workforce.
CNBC reached out to YPO, an international organization of some 24,000 young chief executives, and our own CNBC Global CFO Council, an elite group of chief financial officers from more than 100 public and private companies. Both tell CNBC that the skills gap is reaching critical proportions.
Of the 40 members of the two organizations that responded to the informal CNBC survey conducted in June, 63 percent reported having had difficulty filling skilled positions in the past 12 months.