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Strong Manufacturing Labor Force is Key to U.S. Economic Success

Posted 5:04 PM by

At a time when the U.S. unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent, the manufacturing industry in America is experiencing labor shortages that could drastically affect the fabric of the United States’ economy. A recent article by Amy Kaslow in CNN Money points out that many industrial jobs are going unfilled due to a lack of skilled manufacturing workers. This situation could prove to create dire consequences for the American economy as many domestic firms are forced to look abroad for a skilled labor pool to meet the demands of their businesses. 

While not necessarily viewed by the mainstream public as a major concern, a manufacturing labor shortage has the potential to create significant economic head winds that could severely hamper the United States’ economic productivity in years to come.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the manufacturing sector has been one of the leading sectors in American economic growth in the past four years. It accounts for nearly 12 million jobs and 12.2 percent of annual GDP.

Given the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy, how do industrial companies address this shortage (which has mainly been a result of insufficient technical training of job candidates) to ensure the long-term viability of the manufacturing sector and, by extension, the U.S. economy?   

Kaslow suggests several steps companies can take to resolve the current labor shortage:

  • Develop and maintain strong ties with educational institutions in order to establish and foster vocational and technical training programs necessary to meet the demands of 21st century manufacturing
  • Institute mentoring programs and work in partnership with local school districts in order to create new career avenues for students to ensure a pipeline of skilled manufacturing workers
  • Work to change public perception of the manufacturing jobs being unskilled so as to demonstrate that a career in manufacturing is dynamic and demands workers to continually improve and hone both existing and new skills

By taking steps such as these, industrial companies can help to reduce the shortage of qualified workers and ensure the sustainability of the manufacturing sector and the American economy.

About the Author
Brent Lee is a member of Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Audit and Assurance Services Department. Brent audits and reviews financial statements, and he advises clients in accounting, reporting, compliance and internal control matters. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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