American Factories are Desperate for Workers. It's a $1 Trillion Problem

Updated: May 19

By CNN Business

This article was published in CNN Business May 4, 2021. We're sharing it because it covers one of the major challenges faced by the sewn products industry: workforce development.

Demand for goods is skyrocketing as the US economy reopens from the pandemic. But there's a big problem: American factories can't find enough people to do the work.

Even though US manufacturing activity surged to a 37-year high in March, the industry has more than half a million job openings. Factories are struggling to find skilled workers for specialized roles such as welders and machinists. Manufacturers are even having trouble hiring entry-level positions that do not require expertise.

The talent shortage is not new — but it's getting worse and could have far-reaching consequences beyond the manufacturing industry itself.

As many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled through 2030, according to a study published Tuesday by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The report warns the worker shortage will hurt revenue, production and could ultimately cost the US economy up to $1 trillion by 2030.

"It is deeply concerning that at a time when jobs are in such high demand nationwide, the number of vacant entry-level manufacturing positions continues to grow," Paul Wellener, vice chairman and US industrial products and constructions leader at Deloitte, said in a statement.

'Resounding Distress Signal'

Manufacturers say it is 36% harder to find talent today than in 2018 — even though the u