Labor Participation Rate- Even HUFFPOST Figures It Out!

April 5, 2013

The labor participation rate fell to 66.3 percent it’s lowest level in 34 years in March. What recovery?

Recovery? HA!

Recovery? HA!

Even the Huffington Post has figured out that we have a structural unemployment problem:

With more than 3 million open and available jobs on the career website CareerBliss.com alone, why do we keep seeing the labor participation rate dropping?

The answer is that employers can’t find the right workers. Too many unemployed American workers lack the relevant skills needed to fill the millions of jobs available.” -Heidi Golledge

That sure doesn’t sound like ‘cyclical unemployment’ to me.

Here’s more from HuffPost: “If you look at the current employment numbers there is a quality job out there for just about every graduate — if only they would have been guided toward courses of study that would give them the skills most in demand. We can start to bridge the skills gap now by guiding future workers toward growing and emerging industries.”

Sounds like the definition of structural unemployment to me: Structural unemployment is a form of unemployment which occurs when the number of vacancies is equal to, or greater than, the number of the unemployed. The unemployed workers may lack the skills needed for the jobs, or they may not live in the part of the country or world where the jobs are available.

We have been talking about this issue for some time- here, here, here, here are some of our most recent ones.

For a great (but ominous) discussion of just how bad this is, read The Market Ticker’s post: “The Chart That Will Crash The Market.

It is about this Labor Participation Rate chart posted above.

We need to give people skills so that they can be hired. Our industry is hiring. Info about skills  and careers can be found here. Need training? Check out PMPA’s Comprehensive Training Database.


Why Manufacturing Is Still Your Best Career Choice

February 19, 2013

ITR Economist Brian Beaulieu gave a very informative economic outlook for the attendees at PMPA’s Manaement Update Conference in Glendale Arizona last week.
We saw lots of charts and correlations that helped our members make sense of all the conflicting ‘news’ and economic indicators that are our constant distraction.

But I can share with you the one graph that should give you the confidence to find your career in advanced manufacturing (like our precision machining industry) rather than go headlong into debt for a college degree that may not have a positive return on investment.

US Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP (Value Added) (3 Month Moving Average)

The trend for US manufacturing remains positive and significant.

The trend for US manufacturing remains positive and significant.

This graph documents recent history, going forward we see manufacturing jobs returning to North America as energy prices for the rest of the world increase.

We see energy access and prices improving for U.S. Manufacturers as a result of the shale gas boom.

We know personally, despite the uncertainty in the market, that many shop owners are trying to add talent, so they can continue to sustain their levels of production and customer service.

If going deep into debt for a degree with no return on investment is something that you are determined to do, good luck with that.

If however, you could consider the idea of learning and earning as you go, I can heartily recommend getting a start in precision machining via a local community college.

It has been our experience that you will have a job before you complete a one year operator program, and the balance of your training and education will be sponsored in whole or part by your employer.

54% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

Career info on Precision Machining.

PMPA Training and Education Database


Mama’s Don’t Let Your Child Grow Up To Be

March 23, 2012

America needs skilled manufacturing workers; Our children need Jobs. What's the problem?

Excerpted from Barberbiz Blog

Try This and See What Happens

Greg Knight, vice president of  PMPA member AMT Machine Systems,  suggests conducting a little experiment. In a social setting with a group of people, try suggesting that manufacturing just might be an alternative to a traditional four-year college degree.

“The reaction will be, ‘No, my kid needs to go to college.’ A career in manufacturing is not seen as a legitimate choice,” said Knight. “You cannot change ideas on this in a short period of time. This is about cultural change and it will take a lot of time and a lot of work.”

In the recently released “Public Pulse on American Manufacturing” by Deloitte, only 33 percent of parents would encourage their child to pursue a career in manufacturing, only 19 percent of school systems are perceived to encourage students to pursue careers in manufacturing, and only 17 percent of students report being encouraged by their parents to pursue a career in manufacturing.

Our Torn Views

It’s clear that Americans value a strong manufacturing sector. When asked which industries are most important to the national economy, manufacturing is always near the top of the list. If you were to poll economic developers nationwide and ask them if they could create 1,000 new jobs in their community with any new facility, you can bet that for most communities would choose manufacturing.

And yet, if you were to ask those same economic developers if they wanted their sons or daughters to pursue a career in manufacturing, what do you think the answer might be. Well, I think you probably already know the answer to that one.

So we are torn. We want manufacturing jobs, just for someone else. Deloitte’s public pulse study showed that out of seven key industries, manufacturing ranks second to last as a career choice. It remains perceived by most people as an unstable long-term career choice. And our future talent pool is none too thrilled. Among 18-24 year-olds, manufacturing ranks dead last among industries as a career choice.

That’s not good. We have our work cut out for us.

So mamas, your babies don’t have to grow up to be doctors and lawyers and such. They can have a good future in a modern manufacturing plant if they only pursue the training and develop the needed skills.

Nobody said it can or would be easy.

There are no guarantees in life, just better informed choices.

Manufacturing deserves another look.

(Speaking of Precision:I became acquainted with Dean Barber’s thinking through some online discussions  on LinkedIn groups. I thought his thinking reflected ours and was worth sharing.

You can read his full blog here.)

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