A recent survey has found that 83% of manufacturers are faced with a moderate or severe shortage of skilled production workers to hire even with the unemployment rate at 9%.
Union Pacific struggles to find enough electricians who have worked with diesel engines. Manufacturers in many places can't find enough machinists. Oil companies must fight for a limited supply of drilling-rig workers. "There's a tremendous shortage of skilled workers," said Craig Giffi, a vice chairman of the consulting firm Deloitte.
Pay levels provide evidence. While hourly wages in the broad category of maintenance and repair workers rose 6.4% from 2007 to 2010, increases were 10% in the subcategory of heavy-vehicle mechanics and 15% for specialists in electrical repairs on commercial and industrial equipment. The implication is that employers were competing for a limited pool of qualified workers.
The Deloitte study found that 74% of manufacturers said a shortage of skilled production workers had a "significant negative impact" on either their productivity or expansion plans. WSJ.com