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The Coming Shortage of Skilled Manufacturing Workers

The Coming Shortage of Skilled Manufacturing Workers
Photograph by Gerenme/Getty Images

As many as 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs remained vacant across the U.S. due to shortages of skilled workers, according to the Manufacturing Institute’s most recent “skills gap” report.

Yet if there truly were significant shortages of skilled workers, employers would be increasing wages to attract them. That’s basic supply-and-demand economics. How do you explain the fact that manufacturing wages are not increasing significantly above inflation? The average hourly wage for U.S. manufacturing jobs has barely budged in three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It stood at $23.08 in July 2009; $23.35 in July 2010; $23.75 in July 2011, and $24.00 this past July.