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Worcester Business Journal: Grinding It Out In Manufacturing

The Worcester Business Journal profiled three Central Massachusetts businesses in an article illustrating the changes faced by the manufacturing sector over the past decade. Throughout the decade, profits, productivity, and wages all rose, while the number of jobs in manufacturing declined. Growing new markets, along with innovative technologies that helped streamline production cycles have enabled the industry to rebound from the recent recession. At the same time, employers are reluctant to hire employees at the same numbers and in the same roles that they did previously.

The article heavily features input from the UMass Donahue Institute's Economic and Public Policy Research director, Marty Romitti. Romitti recently co-authored a report on job openings in the manufacturing sector. Of the 73,000 manufacturing job openings advertised in Massachusetts in 2011, more than 94 percent were for positions in sales and marketing, customer service, management and information technology, with very few “traditional” openings in assembly and machinery work.

Romitti hopes the study’s finding that manufacturers are looking to hire for positions not traditionally thought to be directly related to manufacturing will push job seekers who otherwise wouldn’t consider the manufacturing sector to apply.

While the fact that there are fewer openings for production roles could be interpreted to mean manufacturers have less need for them, those jobs do still exist, and findings could also indicate lower turnover rates among an older workforce, who will need to be replaced upon retirement. However, employers report that when looking for new employees, they often find applicants lack adequate skills in mathematics and reading and many do not pass required drug testing.

Read article: Grinding It Out In Manufacturing

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