“Re-shoring” Efforts Yield Job Growth in Manufacturing

U.S. Manufacturing Reclaims Some Outsourced Jobs

The manufacturing sector continues to provide some significant job growth, but will it be enough when the workforce lacks basic industrial training?

The Obama administration is still hopeful that the manufacturing push will yield jobs and more American-made goods. Well, it looks like some of these efforts are paying off. Gradual improvements in the manufacturing industry made some changes appear insignificant, but economists argue the manufacturing sector has been a major and reliable source of growth in the economy since the Great Recession.

Data from the Department of Labor seems to agree.

Plant work and manufacturers created 120,000 jobs in the first three months of the year. Ford Motor is doing their part; the car company added 5,500 jobs this year that were previously outsourced. Ford reacquired the production of certain high-tech components used to assemble hybrid cars—like battery packs and transmissions—from Japan and Mexico. But automakers aren’t the only ones bringing jobs back to the states; mega corporations and small private companies alike are reclaiming jobs.

Chesapeake Bay Candles will now actually be from the Chesapeake Bay-area. GE is continuing its reign of expansion to appliances, aviation and locomotives. Last year alone, GE added 10,000 jobs. The multi-industry giant is projecting at least another 900 factory jobs by 2013. So, maybe the recent jobs report wasn’t a clear indication of the whole economic recovery picture. But if plants and factories are to make the most of new hires—and sustain ramped-up production—they need to invest in manufacturing plant training.

The second part of creating manufacturing jobs is enabling the workforce through education and industrial safety training. Not enough businesses see the value of in-sourcing because a large segment of the unemployed doesn’t have the necessary skill sets. Last year reported a record-breaking number of U.S. exports of nearly $20 billion, part of which is thanks to the construction/mining equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT). Since their heavy-duty construction equipment, especially mining machinery, has global appeal, they increased production efforts in the U.S. and put more money in the national pocket. But, increased production doesn’t mean much if workers don’t have manufacturing training.

According to CNN Money, the American workforce is at its smallest size since the 1980s. Although there has been some significant job growth, many have just stopped “engaging” with the job market—aka “job market dropouts.” It appears some adults have temporarily conceded to unemployment and returned to the drawing board for community college classes and technical skills, like manufacturing plant training. Job skills depreciate the longer someone is out of work and vocational education seems to be the only option left.

To offset the economic imbalance caused by discouraged “dropouts,” various sectors (especially the reliable manufacturing industry) must invest in the unofficially unemployed through industrial safety training, electrical training, operations training and more. Long-term investments yield more jobs, national revenue and exports, and America desperately needs all three.

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