On The Job Hunt: Manufacturing Jobs Readily Available With No Skilled Workers to Fill Positions

On the Job Hunt: Manufacturers struggle to fill vacant jobs


Anyone who tells you the jobs just aren’t out there, has not spoken with the employers at Excel Foundry and machine in Pekin, Illinois. That company is trying to expand but is having difficulty.

Excel says the reason for this is because recruiters cannot fill the job vacancies. Yes, you read that right, they can not fill the vacancies. 

“We’re absolutely frustrated, we’re doing everything we can to attract employees we desperately need right now,” says Doug Parsons with Excel.

The catch is that Excel, like many U.S. manufacturers, is looking to hire skilled workers. That means tradesmen with training like welders, pipe fitters and machinists. That is where the problem lies.

For most Americans while in their high school years, the pressure was on to go to college and get a degree. Trade schools were looked at as a back up plan for those who did not excel. 

Larry Sarff with Morton Industries says, “One of the problems in finding people is the perception that manufacturing is a dying art and that jobs are not going to be there because they're being sent overseas.”

Analysts like John Challenger at Challenger Gray and Christmas agree that the outsourcing of labor created a deficit of skilled U.S. labor. 

“We went through this period where many of those jobs were moved overseas. Many of them, when the recession hit, just weren’t needed. And all of a sudden we have this missing generation of people who can do those technical jobs, ” says Challenger. 

In fact, the department of labor says there are four million fewer people working in skilled labor positions today than there were 20 years ago.

So companies like Excel are turning to the high schools and trying to change the perception of a career in the trades. 

“Most people when they think about engineering think about dark dirty grungy dead end type jobs. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about high tech jobs,” Says Parsons.

Big companies are putting on job fairs and conventions. They put teens on busses and explain to them the potential of long term employment at a pay rate up to 80 thousand dollars per year. Some students who spoke to Fox News, got the message. 

“I want to become a professional welder and make good money,” says 17-year-old Josh Manly.

Despite all the perceptions that manufacturing can be done cheaper overseas, economists say the U.S. is still number one in manufacturing. All that is needed is someone to do the job.

Michael Tobin joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Chicago-based correspondent.