Supply Chain Challenges and The Great Jobs Disconnect

Virtually every company has experienced supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic.  Material delays and shipping delays are common.  Even more common now are production and shipping delays related to a lack of personnel.  Yet unemployment rates have gone up.  What is going on?

Every manufacturing company I have talked with has open positions.  As a result, orders are delayed.  Many companies (including ours) will train people.  If you show up every day and have a decent attitude and aptitude, there are plenty of jobs that can lead to careers.  These positions remain unfilled.  People who were laid off from service jobs are not interested in manufacturing jobs. 

Over the last several decades, several factors led to the situation we now must resolve.  Prior to 2008, most recessions started in the manufacturing sector.  Those recessions led people to seek careers in other fields.  Companies moved manufacturing overseas to cut costs.  The education lobby exploded, encouraging everyone to go to college.  Manufacturing jobs became more scarce and taboo to take.

This recession, driven by the pandemic, has decimated the service sector.  Will this service-led recession change attitudes towards manufacturing jobs?  In the short run, that is unlikely to happen.  With the right governmental policies and right approach from manufacturers, I think we can change the attitude towards manufacturing jobs.  Trade schools should be supported like colleges.  Manufacturers need to market career opportunities, not just jobs. 

In the meantime, expect delays in the production and receiving of your goods.  Manufacturers and shippers are doing the best we can but without people, we cannot make and ship things. 

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