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A year ago, many manufacturers expected to hire in 2011. Did they follow through?

Although many manufacturers said they would hire employees this year, job gains from January through August were low, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. New hires accounted for only about 2 percent of total employment, in fact.

Here are some of the trends that have shown up this year:

  • Employment in manufacturing as a whole grew only 1.2 percent.
  • Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing made up almost half of the 28,000 jobs added in the transportation sector.
  • The fabricated metal products industry saw employment grow 2.85 percent, adding almost 38,000 jobs, while machinery manufacturers added another 34,000 jobs.
  • Computer and electronics products, electrical equipment and appliances together grew 1.3 percent, adding 18,000 jobs.
  • Over the same time period, wood products and furniture manufacturing companies lost 200,000 jobs, while food manufacturers lost about 5,000 jobs.

Where Did the Money Go?
Instead of adding employees in 2011, manufacturers chose to invest in new capital equipment to improve productivity. Those decisions benefited employees in the machinery sector, but put a damper on hiring in the industries where the equipment was being added.

At the same time, many manufacturing companies say they would hire if they could find people with the right skills, such as CNC machinists, welders and technicians. The continued downward trend in vocational education in high schools and community colleges is contributing to a lack of skilled workers--although people who complete rigorous technical training in vocational education programs and two-year colleges are in demand and earning higher-than-average wages.


The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by McMurry. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.