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The real story behind job losses

According to the statistics reported in the mainstream media, a couple million people have lost their manufacturing jobs over the last few years. But look at any job-hunting site (check out www.craigslist.com in any major city) and look under Manufacturing. There are a lot of job openings for skilled trades (machinists, programmers, and welders are the predominant ones). There is a shortage of industrial welders to the tune of 100,000 and growing. Skilled machinists are in short supply as well.


At an open house recently for Methods Machine Tools West’s new facility in Tempe, AZ, the sales manager for that company said he has customers tell him that even when they buy a piece of new equipment, they can’t find the skilled people to stand in front of it and operate it. A machine shop owner in Louisville, KY said that if he could find 10 skilled machinists, he’d hire all of them today.

Moldmaking is a bit of a different story, but from last year’s Plastec West to this year’s, I’m coming across more mold shops that have started doing specialty machining just to keep the spindles turning.

That same mainstream media never focuses on the shortage of skilled tradespeople. The recent feature IMM did focusing on many of the plastics programs available show that there’s a need for skilled people. The graduates are getting jobs.

Not everyone needs to go to college for four years to earn $70,000/year. The plastics industry (including moldmaking) needs to get the word out that there are plenty of good, high-paying jobs in the skilled trades. Unfortunately, high school guidance counselors don’t promote the trades (they’re ignorant of them for the most part), and there’s this idea that everyone has to go to college.

Recently, there was a report on CNN that more and more college students are majoring in politics. How will going into politics create wealth? Manufacturing creates wealth. Politicians and government consume wealth. We need more people who can create wealth. In other words, we need fewer politicians and more creative entrepreneurs and manufacturers. We need to make more stuff, not more laws.

Incidentally, while the mainstream media cries in its soup about 7.6% unemployment, any economist will tell you that 5% unemployment is considered “full” employment, which means that in reality, there’s only 2.4% unemployment. That means that there’s 97.6% employment. Not too shabby! clare.goldsberry@cancom.com

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