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BLS Report Shows Workforce Shortage is a Continued Concern for Manufacturers

Posted 6:49 PM by

Employment reports published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in June confirmed the workforce issues facing manufacturers across the country: despite the high number of job openings, manufacturing employment continues to decline. With product demand continuing to grow, manufacturers must consider ways to combat the shortage of qualified workers. The Bloomberg article, "The End of the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance (Such as it Was)," summarized these findings, which are consistent with concerns voiced by Hoosier manufacturers in last year’s Indiana Manufacturing Survey report.

Several factors are fueling this workforce shortage, including:

  1. Technology. Advances in technology have changed the skills that are now required for many manufacturing jobs. Employees are often tasked with operating more complex software and equipment, which requires additional training and knowledge.
  2. Perception. Because of the additional skills required, manufacturers have increased wages for these positions. This contradicts the more traditional – and much more accepted – view that manufacturing jobs are “hands-on” only and may not pay as well as jobs in other industries. IndustryWeek recently highlighted the importance of changing this perception of manufacturing positions as a way for manufacturers to attract a wider range of applicants. 
  3. Training. Manufacturers need to develop better training courses in order to help bridge the skills gap that is feeding the workforce shortage. Partnering with educational institutions such as trade schools or local high schools to develop such programs may also allow businesses to take part in shaping curriculum to better fulfill their specific needs.

With increased demand for U.S. products, it is critical to focus on ways to resolve the labor shortage. Without additional workers, companies could be forced to reevaluate their production goals or overwork current employees. By taking the time to develop and train the workforce today, manufacturers will be better equipped to meet customer demands in the future.

About the Author
Julie Kimbley is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Business Advisory Group. Julie’s responsibilities include preparing and reviewing financial statements and tax returns, along with advising clients in accounting, reporting and tax-related matters. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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