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Industry News

Jul 25 2014

US Manufacturing Growth and the Skilled Labor Shortage

Posted by Andy Penkalski in Industry News

The Manufacturing Institute–in collaboration with management consulting firm Accenture–published a study this year exploring the impact of skilled-labor shortages on industry growth. This week, Rockwell Automation's
Senior Vice President of Control Products and Solutions, Blake Moret, returned to the topic in the Manufacturing Institute's monthly publication–viewable here

–via The Manufacturing Institute

Moret strives to offer more sustainable approaches in his article than the initial report offered, which is viewable below. Still, the study itself offers several points of data that demonstrate the potential impact of a dwindling labor force. Of the companies surveyed, more than 50 percent reported plans to increase US-based production by at least five percent in the next five years while 75 percent of those companies reported a moderate to severe shortage of skilled resources. The potential lost earnings for this shortage is 11 percent annually. 

The report explores several interesting trickle-down effects and causes of the shortage, like how the majority of skilled laborers are nearing or entering retirement. It fails to address, however, the fact that 66 percent of all high school graduates now enter four-year institutions with only 33 percent of that segment pursuing a scientific field of study that's not necessarily limited to engineering. Still, the Manufacturing Institute's report reiterates the US industry's steady growth since the 2007 recession, so it doesn't exactly point toward a workforce migrating elsewhere. It just sort of seems to be a dwindling species of the workforce altogether.