Is the U.S. Facing a Shortage of Factory Workers?

by B. Traven

The U.S. manufacturing sector has been shrinking steadily since before most of us were born.

So why are American factories reporting that 600,000 jobs are going vacant across the country?

The manufacturers say it’s due to a shortage of skilled workers, but Bloomberg offers a few caveats: for example, companies might be keeping these jobs unfilled due to uncertainty about the future, opting to increase overtime for existing workers instead.

Working in a high-tech modern factory also takes a lot of training even for experienced workers, and training budgets were slashed during the Great Recession. And some of the jobs are in non-production areas, like accounting. They point out that if manufacturers really wanted to fill those jobs, they would be raising wages — which obviously hasn’t happened (yet).

Still, the average age for skilled manufacturing workers is now 56, so the number of unfilled jobs is likely to keep growing — especially as more companies bring factory jobs back to the U.S.

What do you say — would you work in a factory for $23 an hour?

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.