Workforce shortage is top issue for U.S. manufacturers, survey
Uncertainties continue to drive concern for U.S. manufacturers
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers released the results of its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2019.
The survey of manufacturers provides evidence that a slowing global economy and uncertainties have manufacturers on edge, reports the NAM, the largest manufacturing association in the U.S.
For the second consecutive quarter, the survey shows a significant drop in manufacturers’ optimism amid uncertainties, a softening global economy and worsening workforce shortage. Nearly 68 per cent of manufacturers had a positive outlook for their business in the third quarter, down from 79.8 per cent in the second quarter and 89.5 per cent in the first quarter. The inability to attract and retain a quality workforce remained manufacturers’ top business concern (69.9 per cent) for the seventh straight quarter.
A workforce crisis
Earlier this year NAM launched the Creators Wanted Fund, a multi-million-dollar campaign designed to close the skills gap and inspire a new generation of modern manufacturing workers, said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.
Manufacturers have an all-time high of 522,000 open jobs, according to the most recent JOLTS data, and a landmark report published last year by Deloitte. The Manufacturing Institute – the workforce and education partner of the NAM – found that 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028.
The survey found that trade uncertainties among manufacturers rose to 63.4 per cent in the third quarter, up from 56.0 per cent in the second quarter, as U.S. Congress and the administration work to approve the USMCA, secure a U.S.-China trade agreement and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
Conducted by NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey has surveyed the association’s membership of 14,000 large and small manufacturers on a quarterly basis since 1997 to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns.