Manufacturers need to find more workers to hire
Economic commentators are catching on to the story manufacturers have been sharing for a while: In 2018, manufacturers were the stars of the U.S. economy. Our industry had the best year for job creation in more than two decades, adding an average of 22,000 jobs every month—bringing the total number of American manufacturing workers to more than 12.8 million.Trump's "magic wand" is working beyond the expectations of his critics. His trade policies have resulted in millions of new jobs and have lifted people out of poverty and government dependency. It will be hard for Democrats to run against this economy with promises of more dependency. Media companies seem to be the main ones laying people off and the ones who are laid off view suggestions of "learning to code" as an insult. It is however what they told out of work manufacturers and energy company layoffs under the Obama administration.
Powered by tax reform and regulatory certainty, manufacturers spent the year keeping our promise to secure those tools and invest in our people. In addition to hiring new workers, manufacturers also raised wages and benefits and invested in new operations and new equipment. Reflecting the historic nature of 2018, the National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which has tracked manufacturers’ sentiment for 20 years, hit a new record of optimism.
Manufacturers entered 2019 with strong momentum, and now we expect the growth and hiring to continue. We have challenges, to be sure, and know there will always be bumps along the way—but the skeptics and naysayers have it wrong when they question the strength of modern manufacturing in America. In reality, manufacturers wish we could hire skilled workers even faster. There just are not enough of them.
Today, manufacturers need to fill 428,000 jobs. And according to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the NAM, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs over the next decade. But under current conditions, not enough Americans are pursuing these careers, even though they pay on average $84,832 a year in wages and benefits, or $32,000 more than jobs in other fields. Of those 4.6 million jobs that will be open between now and 2028, as many as 2.4 million could go unfilled.
We need skilled workers—and we need them now. In addition to men and women who create things with their hands, this includes coders, programmers, technicians, designers and other jobs that require some degree of specialized training. We don’t think of these as blue-collar or white-collar jobs but “new-collar” jobs, the jobs that put the “modern” in “modern manufacturing.”