US manufacturing worker crisis to get much worse, study shows

Millions of manufacturing positions created over the coming years may go unfilled, which could end up costing the sector hundreds of billions of dollars in GDP, a new study found.

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Job growth in the manufacturing sector, which has been a primary goal of the Trump administration, has been in the double digits since 2007, according to professional services firm Deloitte, and is nearing a peak achieved in 2001. Over the next 10 years, the industry is likely to create nearly 2 million positions – for a total of 4.6 million. However, Deloitte projects companies will be unable to fill 2.4 million of those spots – which could cost the manufacturing sector $454 billion in manufacturing GDP in 2028 alone.

An overwhelming majority of manufacturing executives (89 percent) told Deloitte they are already having a hard time finding qualified applicants. But as baby boomers begin to retire – a factor expected to account for 2.69 million vacant spots – and the skill sets among younger generations shift thanks to new technologies, that problem will likely get much worse.

Meanwhile, executives are already shelling out more cash to fill slots: 83 percent of executives reported raising pay in order to attract qualified talent.

As previously reported by FOX Business, industries from construction to trucking, have responded to worker shortages by raising wages and benefits throughout recent years.

Among the ways Deloitte recommends beginning to remedy the issue is by developing in-house training, focusing on apprenticeship programs and relying more on automation.

The Trump administration has publicly addressed the skills gap – and has developed initiatives to train workers for open positions. In July, President Trump signed an executive order establishing the Council for the American Worker – which is focused on training, retraining and other workplace education initiatives.