A general shortage of unskilled and skilled labor is a big deal for the woodworking and manufacturing industries. 
 
Over the next decade, more than 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, but thanks to a skills gap, two million of these positions could go unfilled.
 
"The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing", an in-depth report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, takes a deep dive into what will become of the issue over the next decade, as well as what executives can do to cope. We've summarized some of the report below and shown graphs highlighting the issue.
 
A major problem for manufacturers is to overcome how the manufacturing industry is perceived, says the report. The study found that most Americans consider manufacturing one of the most important domestic industries for maintaining a strong national economy, but rank it low as a career choice. Only 37 survey respondents in 2015 indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career. Those in the industry, however, are twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue manufacturing.
 
Seven out of 10 executives said it was hard to find workers with sufficient tech, computer, and technical training skills. More than 94 percent say internal employee training and development programs are the most effective for developing skilled workers and 72 percent say involvement with local schools and community colleges is effective.
 
Study authors say manufacturers should build robust community outreach programs, design curriculums in collaborations with technical and community colleges, and continue to invest in external relationships to attract talent. 
 
As you can expect, the effects of talent shortages are being felt. More than 75 percent of survey respondents believe the greatest impact of the skills shortage will be in maintaining or increasing production levels in line with customer demand. As manufacturers struggle to support production plants with insufficient human capital, existing resources tend to become stretched. Current data suggests annual working hours in manufacturing is 17 percent more than in all private industries. 
 

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