Jun 01, 2014

Industry Highlight: Manufacturing Index

In April 2014, manufacturing employment increased by 12,000 jobs. According to a national employment survey by SHRM, 57 percent of manufacturing companies planned to hire in May 2014, while only 4.1 percent planned to reduce their workforces. A net 4.5 percent of manufacturing respondents said they increased new-hire compensation in April 2014. 

DCR TrendLine Manufacturing Employment Index

DCR TrendLine Manufacturing Employment Index

The Southern United States has historically s been an industry bed for automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. The area is now attracting aerospace companies, such as Boeing, Airbus, and GE Aviation, who are operating in South Carolina, Alabama, and North Carolina. A report by USA Today credits the region’s lower costs, generous incentive programs, and labor laws that make union organization difficult, as key motivators.

Within aerospace manufacturing, South Carolina experienced a growth of more than 600 percent between 2007 and 2012, while North Carolina was second with job growth of nearly 34 percent. In 2013, hourly compensation rates averaged $27 in Southern states.

 Manufacturing Employment and Wages: Job Title


Minnesota, a state with a strong manufacturing presence, is confident about the future of the industry. The annual State of Manufacturing report found that factory managers are the most optimistic they’ve been since the recession in 2009. Recent employment and production reports by the Institute of Supply Managers echoes this finding, with industry participants expecting the manufacturing sector across the U.S. and Midwest to grow.

As baby boomers age and jobs continue to grow in the manufacturing industry, a labor skills gap is identified as a reason why over half a million skilled manufacturing jobs remains unfilled.  The industry employs more than 12 million workers directly, but about 600,000 skills jobs are vacant, according to a study by Deloitte.

Job Title Focus – Machinists

The BLS defines the job title of machinist as workers who “set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. As of May 2013, the employment estimate for this job was 391,130 with a mean hourly wage of $19.72. The top paying industry for this occupation is natural gas distribution with an average mean wage of $76,690. The job is projected to grow by 8 to 14 percent by 2022, with 125,900 job openings over that period.

“This hiring increase, however, is not translating into higher compensation packages for new hires ~Jennifer Schramm, Manager of Workforce Trends at the Society for Human Resource Management