Because of a lack of qualified applicants, as many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled
Pick up the latest issue of the popular car enthusiast magazine Road & Track, and you'll find a letter written by
In the ad, he's photographed in one of the company's newest U.S. factories. MacNeil writes, "The exporting of American jobs is a trend that must be stopped and reversed." He goes on to say, "So in 2007 we transferred all of our floor mat manufacturing back to
The U.S. manufacturing industry has its work cut out for it. Since 2001, the country has lost almost 5 million manufacturing jobs, according to economic consulting firm
Last year was an important milestone for U.S. manufacturing, as the number of jobs in the industry increased for the first time since 1997. Still, those gains fell well short of the number of jobs needed to revive the sector. Since 2010, the number of manufacturing jobs has increased by about 150,000, which brings the industry total to just over 12 million jobs.
Two major problems plague the industry. Technological advances in manufacturing have resulted in fewer positions. And, as MacNeil points out, many companies have chosen to outsource a lot of low-skilled labor to countries with lower labor costs. "As a global trend, dramatic increases in manufacturing productivity mean that the same volume of goods are produced with less labor," says
That's led to a shift in the number of manufacturing workers who have moved into service-sector jobs, Robison says. In 1950, 30 percent of all U.S. jobs were in manufacturing, while 63 percent were in services, according to EMSI. Currently, 9 percent of jobs are in manufacturing, and 86 percent are in services. Many job openings in the manufacturing sector are "replacement jobs"--meaning openings are for positions that already exist.
But the news isn't all bad. Recent research from global consulting company
This has mixed implications for those seeking manufacturing jobs in
As for Ferreira's outlook for the future of U.S. manufacturing jobs, he says "It's mixed, but with a positive expectation. ... Making the changes to a supply chain doesn't happen overnight. If that has to be modified, it doesn't happen with the flip of a switch."
However, the biggest issue for the manufacturing industry in
It's partially a public perception problem. Eighty-six percent of respondents in a separate survey indicate that America's manufacturing base is "important" or "very important" to our standard of living. But at the same time, manufacturing ranked second to last among seven key industries that Americans wanted to work in. "Everybody agrees hands-down that they want manufacturing jobs in their community, just not necessarily for them or their children," McNelly says. Education and retraining will play a huge role in the fate of the industry going forward, she says.
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Skills Gap Plagues American Manufacturing Industry | Politics
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