Written By: Carissa Gurgul

Although the national unemployment rate is at a record low, Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary, recently explained that approximately one in three able-working adults choose not to work simply due to a lack of desire.  He went on to discuss how this is largely due to a lack of skills needed to obtain decent, available job positions, and how it is affecting overall economic growth.  As a fastly growing industry that cannot seem to gain qualified employees at the same rate of this job growth, manufacturing is one industry that expects to be greatly impacted by this new reality.  According to Staffing Industry Analysis, only five in ten (50%) available positions get filled, leaving 488,000 current empty positions, only anticipated to raise to nearly 2.4 million (plus approximately 2.69 forecasted retirements) by 2028.  This is then expected to result in a loss of $454 billion in manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP).  Research shows that this number is only predicted to raise over the next decade, reaching approximately $2.5 trillion.  This decrease in GDP not only comes from the decrease in each individual product output, but also a decrease in company moral, quality, and production of work.

A survey was conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, showing that the largest reason so many manufacturing positions remain unfilled is due to manufacturing’s negative perception.  Another main contributor is the previously discussed skills gap, largely sprouting from the transition in generations in the workforce and the varying skills each presents.  As a result, the main skills that are increasingly important with new technologies, yet fall short within the industry, are technology/computer skills, digital skills, programming skills for robots/automation, working with tools and technology, and critical thinking skills.  To begin to lessen the present skills gap and encourage an increase in qualified applicants, companies have started implicating new strategies, such as reaching out to experienced past employees, embracing technology and its offerings, increasing wages and signing bonuses, and developing and implementing learning programs.  At SCPa Works, we are dedicated to working towards closing this skills gap by providing trainings and other resources that will help potential applicants gain the required/desired qualifications.


Knutson, Ted. “Wilbur Ross: Low Workforce Participation Hindering Economic Growth.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Nov. 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedknutson/2018/11/13/commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross-low-workforce-participation-hindering-economic-growth/#141b1422fcf3.


“MANUFACTURING FACES UNPRECEDENTED WORKFORCE SHORTFALL, 2.4 MILLION JOBS TO GO UNFILLED.” Staffing Industry Analysts, 14 Nov. 2018, https://www2.staffingindustry.com/site/Editorial/Daily-News/Manufacturing-faces-unprecedented-workforce-shortfall-2.4-million-jobs-to-go-unfilled-48097.