Manufacturing and construction jobs on the rise

The fifth annual Manufacturing Vitality Index was released Dec. 4, 2014, revealing that the 151 companies surveyed plan to hire more workers and continue to modernize and expand their factories in the new year, according the Green Bay Press Gazette.  Data released by the Associated General Contractors of America showed similar findings in the construction industry.

"Fifty-three percent plan on hiring. That's a lot of companies that are going to be trying to attract a limited number of people for jobs," said Ann Franz, director of NEW Manufacturing Alliance, which sponsored the MVI survey. "In the five years of the study, this has been the strongest, and companies are the most bullish on the future."

Manufacturing has changed significantly due to increased automation. Machines are doing many of the jobs that people were once responsible for. The new breed of industrial worker is someone who has experience using machines, and understands how to program and operate them.

The demand for these workers is going to be very high in the future, according to Franz. Although technical schools and four-year colleges continue to produce graduates at a regular pace, the demand is so great that many more openings will be available than the number of people who will be qualified to fill them. This is also true for less technically demanding jobs, as many general labor positions are also competing with the service industry for hires.

Scott Kettler, general manager of Plexus Corp., a manufacturing company, says that jobs will continue to open up as baby boomers retire.

Data by the AGC showed similar plans for expansion in 2015
Recent data by the AGC indicated that spending on construction has increased between October 2013 and October 2014, suggesting that things will only improve with time. The group also indicated that many of the jobs that will be in demand in the future will likely be ones that require skills and knowledge above and beyond that of the general laborer.

"Instead of capitalizing on the emerging recovery, many firms instead are struggling to find qualified workers to fill their construction crews," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "It is time to rethink our educational priorities when we have too many unemployed men and women who lack the skills to earn the kind of above-average wages construction work affords."

States where construction jobs were increased include Texas and Illinois. Recruiters who want to find the best talent will have to work hard to find offers that will entice a growing number of skilled laborers who recognize their talents are in high demand.