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Economy > Forecasts > Guest Contributor > Insights & Trends > Supply & Demand > Talent Acquisition > Workforce Data

Manufacturing Is On Fire, But a Skills Gap Is Watering Things Down

U.S. manufacturing is growing by leaps and bounds.Manufacturing in the U.S. was impressive in July. The Institute for Supply Management index for production was at a nine-year high, showing strong growth in manufacturing output. With such increased production, the sector will have to increase hiring – but this may prove difficult for some positions thanks to a skills gap.

A recent report from the Boston Consulting Group shows that skill shortages in manufacturing are not as pervasive as some may think. Still, shortages exist for some types of manufacturing jobs – welders, for example. While welding does not require an advanced degree, it is a potentially dangerous activity that requires proper training to be performed safely and to quality standards.

Thanks to CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal, we can examine how hard it is to recruit welders. The hiring indicator, at 54, indicates that welders are moderately hard to recruit nationwide. Over the past two years, it has been easier to recruit for welders than for 54 percent of all other occupations.

CareerBuilder's Supply & Deman Portal shows how hard it is to recruit welders.

If you’re looking for real-time access to labor market trends – including the availability of active candidates for any position as well as locations where you will find the most and least competition is for that talent – you may want to learn more about CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal (VIDEO.)

However, the situation is not uniform across the U.S. If you were to look at large cities, Chicago and Atlanta are among the best to recruit talent since there are relatively more welders per job opening. In contrast, the search for talent in the welding industry is harder in places such as Charlotte or Orlando, where there are about the same number of job openings for welders as in Chicago, but less than half the available talent.

If manufacturing in the U.S. continues to grow at a strong pace, the skills gap will likely become more pronounced. As great as stronger job growth is, employers will have more trouble filling some of their positions. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to consider options such as higher pay and better training for new recruits.

Ioana Marinescu

About Ioana Marinescu

Ioana Marinescu is an assistant professor in economics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on understanding labor markets. She has been collaborating on data and research projects with CareerBuilder and she is especially interested in how to get the right people to work in the right jobs. You can follow her on twitter @mioana and check out her research on her website,


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