U.S. manufacturers seeking qualified workers to support growth

May 10, 2012

The growth that U.S. manufacturing has recorded during 2012 has given many industry experts hope about further expansion within the sector, but there is still one concern that could affect business strategy for several companies.

USA Today reported that despite the growth in the sector, a perceived lack of qualified workers could limit the profit margins for companies and may affect their sustainability in the current world market.

According to the news outlet, a North Brunswick, New Jersey-based manufacturer has developed innovative machinery that can help companies like PepsiCo robotically bundle different flavors into one package. However, despite the positive earnings that have been reported so far this year and future growth that is projected, the company has worries about finding workers to fuel the expansion.

"It seems like we are growing, it seems like the economy is coming along, which makes us very happy," company owner Tami Minond told USA Today. "But it seems like a machinist is a rare bird in New Jersey."

Although the manufacturing renaissance that has occurred in the U.S. has beat the expectations of even the most optimistic experts, a dearth of qualified workers has prevented some companies from meeting the increased demand that they have seen.

Manufacturers "are coming back," Meredith Aronson, an industry expert in New Jersey, told the news outlet. "The companies I talk to are scared. Their orders are increasing, but they simply can't find the workers."

This has forced many manufacturers and educators to get creative, as a new network is in the midst of being created to provide businesses with qualified workers to meet the growing demand in the industry.

USA Today reported that part of the reason that the lack of qualified workers is persistent in the sector is that the outsourcing and offshoring trend left many without the motivation to learn these skills. However, now the resurgence is occurring, some are looking to fill this gap.

A recent Institute for Supply Management report outlined how executives in the sector expect an increase in revenue of 4.5 percent for 2012, as the industry will continue to benefit from a rise in the number of orders and a drop in foreign competition in Europe and China.

According to an ISM release, this growth is expected to occur in 16 out of 18 industries within the sector.