Manufacturing Jobs – What You Need (And Want) To Know

January 7, 2013

Four of the top five manufacturing sectors by added employment  in 2012 were key markets served by precision machining; Transportation Equipment, Motor Vehicles and Parts, Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery.

(The fifth market was Food Manufacturing, and yes, some of our companies make parts for food service too- think blender parts, nozzles and components for food dispensing, preparation and packaging equipment.)

Graph courtesy Chad Moutray, National Association of Manufacturers, NAM.

Graph courtesy Chad Moutray, National Association of Manufacturers, NAM.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Jobs in Manufacturing increased by 180,000 in 2012.

“In December, manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, with small gains  in a number of component industries. In 2012, factory employment increased by 180,000; most of the growth occurred during the first quarter.”

“In December, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours.”

While there are signs that manufacturing employment gains have slowed down in the second half, those were connected to the economic uncertainties tied to the Presidential Election, Fiscal Cliff, and Global Economic Slowdown. Two of these three special causes are now behind us.

As the graph above shows, Manufacturing is the place to look for employment gains.

The softness in manufacturing employment in the last half of 2012 belies the demand that our industry will have for talented workers going forward. As the BLS workweek hours indicate, Manufacturing currently is using overtime to meet its needs. Given demographic trends, current lean staffing, and the push to reshore production, any economic upturn at all will be strongly bullish for employment prospects in Manufacturing in 2013.

Improvements in Housing Markets are already visible and  a 15+ million auto sales forecast are two indicators that suggest if you want to find a well paying job in 2013, Precision Machining (Advanced Manufacturing) is a great place to apply.

For information about careers in Precision Machining, check out our Career Resources Page on the PMPA Website.

Find a training program near you using PMPA’s Comprehensive Jobs Training Database.

I continue to speak with instructors, counselors, and officials at local community colleges across the country. They are unanimous in saying that their machining students “have multiple job offers before they graduate.”

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Manufacturing Jobs: Separations vs. Hires

October 16, 2012

We like graphs because they tell the story without spin.

These trends are NOT being adequately discussed on the news.

Three out of three indicators agree, openings and hires are  down, while separations are increasing sharply.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the number of manufacturing job openings dropped from 273,000 in July to 255,000 in August.

This is its lowest level since December 2011, with job postings declining for three straight months.

The other big headline for manufacturing is that net hiring turned negative. The BLS employment report  (link to NAM summary) showed that manufacturing jobs decreased in September for the second consecutive month.

In August, manufacturers hired 233,000 workers, down from 244,000 in July. This number is the lowest since June 2009.

At the same time, separations rose from 228,000 to 248,000. Separations include layoffs, quits and retirements.

This suggests net separations of 15,000 workers in August, a reversal of the net hiring of 16,000 observed in July.

So when you hear the rosy numbers from the media trying to “educate” you into thinking their way, why not ask them-

“Can I have a graph with that?”

“I’d like a Graph with that.”

Fast Food Worker Photo

Graph Courtesy of Chad Moutray, Chief Economist at NAM.


2010 Workplace Injuries And Illnesses Data Released By BLS

November 2, 2011

Incidence rates for injuries and illnesses combined among private industry establishments declined significantly in 2010 for total recordable cases of job transfer and restriction: and for cases of days away from work, job transfer or restriction together remained unchanged from 2009.

Facts is facts. Critical thinking is making inferences from facts.

So why the high emphasis on enforcement?

While manufacturing was the sole private industry sector to experience an increase in the incidence rate of injuries and illnesses in 2010- the rate for manufacturing rose to 4.4 cases per 100 fulltime workers from 4.3 cases the year earlierthe increase is attributed to a greater decrease in the hours worked compared to the decline in the number of cases reported in the sector.

Interestingly- the BLS’s estimates for public sector (18.4 million state and local government workers) – shows the incidence rate for these public employees to be 5.7 cases per 100 full time workers.

Seems like manufacturing workers are about 29.55% safer by the BLS’s data than government employees are…


3.5 Million Manufacturing Jobs Lost This Decade

July 22, 2010

Thanking the Buffalo Business  First  for their authoritative study on manufacturing jobs lost in the top 100 markets here in the U.S. over the past decade.

Using  latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, G. Scott Thomas documented  10,114,400 manufacturing jobs in the top 100 markets in May 2000.

In May 2010, the number of manufacturing jobs in those same 100 markets had fallen to 6,641,900.

That is a loss of 3,472,500 manufacturing jobs, a 34.33% decline.

Lots of manufacturing people in this situation.

Surprisingly El Paso, Texas  just edged out Detroit, Michigan  for highest percentage of manufacturing jobs lost at -55.44%.

Detroit lost – 55.41 % or 221,200 jobs gone.

The most surprising fact in the study?

Only 2 of the top 100 markets showed any growth in manufacturing jobs: Las Vegas,Nevada added 0.5% (100 jobs!) and Bakersfield, California added 16.36 % or about 1800 manufacturing jobs.

Only 4 markets’ manufacturing job losses were in the single digits.

98 out of 100 of the top U.S. markets posted declines in manufacturing jobs over the decade.

What do you think that we can do to turn this around?

What will you do to make a difference?

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