October 6, 2017 / 1:08 PM / 15 days ago

Fed's Bostic says skills gap may be limiting business spending

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The difficulty some U.S. firms face in filling high-skilled jobs may be limiting business investment, a Federal Reserve policymaker said on Friday, adding that unequal opportunities in the labor market tends to sap economic vitality.

A recruiter talks with a job seeker at the Construction Careers Now! hiring event in Denver, Colorado U.S. August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

In remarks prepared for a Fed conference on workforce development, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic did not comment on the outlook for the broad economy or for monetary policy.

He said that while the low unemployment rate shows that labor markets are ”robust,“ some businesses are finding it hard to find appropriately skilled labor for jobs that are increasingly reliant on technology. Disadvantages that minorities face in getting jobs, even after accounting for different educational backgrounds, also hurt the labor market,” Bostic said.

“Reports suggest that lack of talent is affecting firms’ decisions to invest,” he said. “Without equal access to opportunity, the country leaves economic potential on the table and limits the possibilities of its people.”

Reporting by Ann Saphir

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