Skilled Worker Shortage Persists Even As Unemployment Rises

Jan. 13, 2005
Production operations are experiencing the most serious workforce shortages in more than two-thirds of the companies recently surveyed.

Production operations are experiencing the most serious workforce shortages in more than two-thirds of the companies recently surveyed by the National Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM), Washington, and Andersen, a Chicago-based professional services firm.

The shortage of skilled people ranges from entry-level workers to engineers.

"Most ominously, some 60% [of companies] say the lack of adequately skilled workers makes it difficult to maintain production levels necessary to meet demand, and 40% say they can't implement new productivity improvements," states Jerry J. Jasinowski, NAM's president.

The No. 1 problem among both current hourly employees and people applying for hourly positions is a lack of basic employability skills -- including timeliness and a work ethic, the survey reveals. Poor reading and writing skills are a problem at one-third of the companies, while 25% of the companies cite deficiencies in basic math, communication and English language skills.

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