Your Personal Economic Recovery- Career in Precision Machining

October 29, 2013

Despite the fact that there has been no significant “recovery” of employment under the current Administration and Congress, There is a way to create your own personal “employment recovery.”

Can't count on Washington to get you back to work.

Can’t count on Washington to get you back to work.

PMPA tracks employment sentiment monthly as part of our Business Trends reporting,

Employment outlook sentiments have been positive for the PMPA members- above 90% for the entire year of 2013.

And our shops have been scheduling overtime- average length of first shift is 42.8 hours for calendar year 2013.

And by the way, earnings of new hires in manufacturing are higher than those not in manufacturing. 38% higher according to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration

Earnings premium of new hires in manufacturing over non manufacturing new hires

The folks in Washington haven’t done much to turn the nation’s employment situation back to the upside as you can see in the top graph.

But if you are comfortable with high school math- geometry, algebra, and trig- you could have a great career in precision machining.

For info on training programs  in your area check out the PMPA Comprehensive Career Training Database.

Career overview.

Why you should consider a career in manufacturing.

One of our members posted on Linked In “We would hire 3 guys right away with the right skills.”

Get skills. Create your own personal economic recovery.


Earnings by College Major Compared to Precision Machining

September 11, 2013

Many people think that the choice of where they  went to school is an important factor in their post graduation earnings.

A new report from Georgetown University shows that the choice of major has a much greater influence on those earnings.

We thought that we would show how the average wage of a skilled machinist compares to those earnings- without the  4+ years of college and the debt most graduates build up while at school.

Our figures for the skilled machinist were taken from our latest Shop Hourly Employee Wage Report and represent the annual straight time hourly earnings for a setup qualified multiple spindle, rotary transfer, Swiss type, or multi axis CNC turning/machining center operators.

The machinist earnings are a low estimate, frankly, because many machinists are scheduled overtime.

The college major earnings data was posted by Planet Money on the NPR site. It was originally prepared by the authors of the Georgetown study.

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

We were well served by our college degree, eventually. The problem was, when we graduated, we were making more in manufacturing than our degree would earn us in an entry level position in our field.

If you have the passion for academics and a 4+ year university program, that’s great.

But if you know that you really aren’t “scholarship’ material, and you’d rather be doing exciting work than writing papers and piling up student debt, we think it will be worth your time to investigate a career in precision machining- or any other craft like electrician, mechatronics, welding, tool and die making,  robotics…

Successful completion of high school math algebra, geometry, trig is all that is needed to be able to do the math for precision machining.

We’d love to help you start your well paying career.

More information:

Career overview

Career benefits

Career training

P.S.  I interviewed a member CEO today: Their machinists averaged $50,000  last year, plus top of the line medical, vacation, holidays, personal days,uniforms, plus company paid training and more… You should really give serious thought to gaining a skill rather than a degree.


Actually Skills Do Pay The Bills

November 30, 2012

The New York Times gets it wrong on  the skills gap, confusing cause and effect, ignoring facts, and making a false analogy.

We’ll give you the link to their misleading article at the end of this post. It made a couple of erroneous points:

  1. Supply and demand dictate that wages should rise if their is a shortage of machinists;
  2. Wages for McDonald’s managers are better than those for skilled machinists;
  3. Demand for skills isn’t real.

In this post we’ll deal with the supply and demand wages  issue.

Supply and demand dictate that wages should rise if there is a shortage of machinists

In the NYTimes piece, economist Mark Price argues that “It’s basic economics…If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be a rise in wages.”

If only economics were so basic, Mark. Actually supply and demand is the wrong issue; the issue is actually the Elasticity of Labor Supply to an Occupation.

In “basic economics” terms this means Where jobs require specific skills and lengthy periods of training, the labor supply will be inelastic. Inelastic means that  it is not possible to expand that specific labor force in the short term; ‘raising the wages won’t just create them out of thin air…’

The NYTimes and economist Price have confused cause and effect.

You need skills, not just high pay, to properly hitch the cart to the horse.

You need skills, not just high pay, to properly hitch the cart to the horse.

Higher wages are a consequence of having skills that add value by increasing the value and or quality of the employee’s work. Raising wages does not of itself add any tangible benefit or skill to the employee’s work product. It does however raise cost. Why the wages “don’t has to rise”  is because, unlike the inelastic  supply for skilled labor in an occupation, the supply for manufacturing work  is elastic.

China and other low wage economies around the world provide lower cost often government subsidized alternatives to  U.S. manufacturing that becomes more expensive but not more productive if the wages just increased because Mr. Price thinks they should.

Precision machining is an occupation with inelastic labor supply. It requires specialized skills, ability to do math, and training and experience to safely perform the work to zero defects (Zero PPM) standards. The anti-lock brake, airbag, and aircraft parts our machinists make need to work.

Bottom line:  Skills are what is demanded, and are in short supply. Higher wages are determined by the value add of the skills obtained, and held in check by low cost competitors across the globe.

NYTimes Skills Don’t Pay the Bills

Cart before the horse

Next post, we’ll look at the false analogy of a Mc Donald’s Manager somehow being comparable work to that of an entry level precision machinist.