McCreary Modern could "hire 100 workers tomorrow" but no one is applying
August 30, 2021 | 10:59 am CDT
McCreary Modern's sewing operation

NEWTON, N.C. - Rick Coffey, president of McCreary Modern, says the residential furniture maker could "hire 100 people tomorrow."

But no one is applying.

Coffey told the News-Topic that the company is ready to expand but can't - as it is unable to find workers. 

He also said the company has tried everything it can think of to find workers, including offering signing bonuses, $2,500 for employees who can recruit a skilled worker, generous benefits, and a 25 percent 401k match. 

McCreary runs six manufacturing plants in North Carolina and it needs employees at all of them. 

McCreary's workforce issues are not unique. They're representative of probably the chief issue affecting the woodworking industry and perhaps even the trades at-large. 

Companies in our industry have been struggling for years to fill their staffs. A Woodworking Network survey from early 2019 showed that 80 percent of wood companies are struggling to hire. At the time, 65 percent of those said they were raising pay in an effort to attract more work. Many others are lowering hiring standards.

The issue has worsened under the pandemic. Many companies have publicly voiced their concerns, including big industry players like Bassett Furniture and Ashley Furniture.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at