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April 29, 2019

A Deeper Look At The Manufacturing And Metals Jobs Gap

Earlier this month, the National Association of Manufacturers released a new paper by its Chief Economist Chad Moutray that provides a detailed and comprehensive breakdown of the manufacturing labor market and the trouble the industry has had finding workers.

Moutray argues manufacturers face a true workforce crisis that will have painful consequences for the U.S. economy and its employees. Specifically, Moutray says, “Manufacturers’ inability to find skilled workers could ultimately cost the economy more than $2.5 trillion in output over the next decade.” He also estimates skills shortages could reduce earnings up to 11 percent annually.

Regarding the metals industry, Moutray found:

  • Fabricated metal product manufacturers added 32,600 jobs between February 2018 and February 2019 – the third most of any manufacturing sector – while primary metal manufacturers added 5,600 jobs.
  • Together these two industries made up 3.5 percent of the total jobs open in the manufacturing sector 2018. Transportation equipment, chemicals, computer and electronic products, and machinery faced the largest jobs gaps.
  • The most in demand jobs in the primary metals sector are repair, forklift operation, scheduling, welding, machinery, personal protective equipment (PPE), sales, industrial engineering industry expertise, customer service, and predictive/preventative maintenance.
  • The most in demand jobs in the fabricated metals sector are scheduling, repair, machining, sales, computer numerical control (CNC), customer service, budgeting, project management, machinery, and quality assurance and control.