Challenges in Filling Open Manufacturing Jobs Not in Alignment With High Unemployment

Despite the continued high unemployment rates across most industries, U.S. manufacturers are still having difficulties filling all of their open positions. Those in the manufacturing industry have long complained that it was difficult to find qualified workers. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more challenging.

The discrepancy in the high overall jobless rates and current challenges in filling all open manufacturing jobs is difficult for economists to explain. This lack of qualified personnel has led to lost business for many businesses in the manufacturing industry.

Latest Jobs Report

The U.S. Labor Department released its March jobs report on Friday, spurring optimism for the employment market.


According to the latest data, 916,000 jobs were created in March. This number marks the newest additions since last August. Of this figure, 53,000 were jobs in the manufacturing sector, the highest number of new factory positions in six months.

More Indicators Demonstrate Tight Manufacturing Labor Market

There are additional indicators that demonstrate that the manufacturing leaders are indeed finding difficulties filling open positions. The Institute for Supply Management recently said that its index for national factory activity increased to its highest reading in 37 years over the month of March. The jump is being blamed on a lack of qualified talent that is not able to keep up with consumer demand.

Another data point demonstrates that shift work at U.S. manufacturing plants was up 3.4% when measured between mid-February and mid-March. This number was higher than the 2.6% jump across all industries.