Manufacturing Jobs Study: Are there enough people to fill all the jobs?

By Mari Luke | April 17, 2019

We hear over and over from customers and at trade shows that there aren't enough people to fill jobs in manufacturing. As the population ages there aren't enough young people coming into manufacturing, and the rate of people leaving the industry is higher than those entering. 

Today we're kicking off a 3 part series on the state of manufacturing jobs. In part 1 we're looking at trends in the manufacturing industry based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Part 2 will focus on jobs in manufacturing quality, looking for trends in job listings. Part 3 will be a summary of data we collect from you. 

manufacturing job data - 3 charts that show that there are more jobs than people to fill them in manufacturing from InspectionXpert

There are more jobs in manufacturing than people to fill them

Since 2009 and the recession the manufacturing industry has seen tremendous growth. The number of job openings has grown 75% from 112,000 to 458,000 open jobs each month. However, hiring has not kept up, and has grown by 43% in the last decade. This trend holds true when we look at the last 12 months as well. When comparing data from January 2018 to January 2019, we see a 4.8% increase in the number of open jobs, but only a 2.8% increase in the number of hires. 

Because there are more open positions than there are hires, we also see a dramatic decrease in the number of layoffs in manufacturing since 2009. In the last decade the number of layoffs has decreased by 72%. However, there has been an increase in the last few years. The number of layoffs hit a 10 year low in 2016. From 2016 to 2017 layoffs in manufacturing increased by 8.8%, and from 2016 to 2019 has increased 24.5%. You would think that with layoffs increasing, the gap between job openings and hires should be narrowing, but it continues to increase. 

Does your company have open positions? Have you had difficulty in filling open positions? We'd love to know more about what you're seeing, and we'll be collecting this information for a report in part 3 of our series. The survey is anonymous, we just want to understand what's happening in the market. Help us gather more information on what you're seeing. 

Sources: Bureau of of Labor Statistics

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