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Manufacturers can't fill jobs
Survey of 815 U.S. firms finds a severe shortage of skilled workers for openings.
November 22, 2005: 10:22 AM EST

NEW YORK ( - At a time when deep job cuts at General Motors Corp. are grabbing attention, a majority of manufacturers are reportedly having trouble finding skilled workers to fill open positions.

A survey by the National Association of Manufacturers and Deloitte Consulting found that more than half of manufacturers said 10 percent or more of their positions are empty for lack of the right candidates. In addition, 81 percent face "moderate" or "severe" shortages of qualified workers. The survey questioned 815 U.S. companies of varying sizes.

On Monday, General Motors (Research) reported that it will cut 30,000 hourly production jobs in the United States and Canada in an effort to stem losses by trimming its capacity.

According to the survey, the shortfall in skilled workers is especially acute in skilled trades, for positions such as welders and specialized machinists. Jerry Jasinowski, president of the Manufacturing Institute, NAM's research arm, said advanced technology used by manufacturers to remain competitive in global markets is raising the level of skills demanded, both among those newly hired as well as within a company's existing work force.

Gaps on the factory floor could hasten the exodus of jobs as more employers hunt for skilled workers outside the United States.

Critics charge manufacturers have brought the problem upon themselves by cutting back on training programs and shifting work away from unionized locations.


For more on the outlook for the job market, click here.  Top of page

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