Carhartt, the Michigan-based maker of rugged occupational clothing, long has honored the skilled-trades workers who wear a lot of the brand's apparel on the job. For Labor Day, the company paid a special tribute.
It produced a new online video ad, "Every Day is Labor Day," that called out skilled-tradespeople for special praise in keeping America running and growing. And Carhartt unveiled a larger-than-life installation of 1,670 hard hats in a park in Nashville, in the shape of the United States, to represent the 1.67 million job openings in the skilled trades that remain, even after the pandemic.
"We're about hard-working people, and there isn't a better weekend than Labor Day to celebrate that," Linda Hubbard, president and chief operating officer of Carhartt, told me.
All of that lost input and creativity, in the form of vacant jobs, is holding back American productivity -- and the economic recovery from Covid-19.
"There are still many more thousands leaving the skilled trades every year, especially in the form of retirements, than there are enough young workers to replace them," Hubbard said. "That's still a critical shortage."
Carhartt also pledged to donate all online sales from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Labor Day -- all proceeds, not just profits -- to the its long-time partner, the national not-for-profit SkillsUSA.