Factory, Construction Jobs Pick Up Steam Across U.S.

Factory and Construction Jobs Image

With the housing market and factory jobsmaking a comeback, it appears as if companies will need more workers with speciality trades on their resumes in the new year.

According to the National Association of Realtors, November 2012 marked the third straight month of gains for signed building contracts, Reuters reports. The supply chain management sector. which includes new factory orders, was also buoyed by the rebound, despite stalled budget talks in Washington and uncertainty over the so-called fiscal cliff.

The housing revival seems to be happening in a way that puts some positive feedback loop, a virtuous cycle into the economy, Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds in New York, told the news agency.

Meanwhile, as both industries pick up steam, Ford has announced major plans to hire as many as 2,350 skilled trade workers at 6 plants in Michigan. The company said the decision to invest $773 million at those factories was fueled by consumers' needs to replace aging cars and trucks.

We have a lot of investment going on right here in the Detroit area, Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president, North America manufacturing, told the Detroit Free Press. "There is lots of good news for southeast Michigan."

The auto giant said that most of the jobs will go to new hires, which underscores the need for job seekers to update their skills in order to work in the emerging field.

In New York, Utica Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi is so concerned about the manufacturing and technical skills gap that he has written a letter to the state Board of Regents asking it to develop a high school diploma that would give students an alternative career path.

As I have been meeting with business owners and constituents, it has become increasingly clear to me that the shortage of well-trained applicants for jobs in skilled professions and trades such as machining and welding is becoming a crisis, wrote Brindisi, in his letter to Chancellor Merryl Tisch.Brindisi said as of September, there were approximately 238,000 jobs in the U.S. for trained skilled trade workers that went unfilled because applicants did not have the right qualifications on their resume.

A study last year by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found that 67% of manufacturing companies had having trouble filling jobs and that more than half of them expected the shortage to get worse within the next 3 to 5 years. 

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