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:
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.
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