Hoosier manufacturers “mostly optimistic” but concerned about lack of workers

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"3D Employment Graph" by Chris Potter, CC BY-SA 2.0

The chief executive officer of the Indiana Manufacturers Association says most manufacturers in the state are optimistic in the economic recovery after the pandemic with about 63% saying they are “mostly optimistic.” However, there are still significant concerns about finding enough qualified workers to fill empty production positions. CEO Brian Burton says six out of ten manufacturing companies say it has been “extremely hard” to find workers in Indiana.

”They look at their book of business, and they’re optimistic because of their orders they have and what they see in the future,” Burton told Inside Indiana Business. “But the challenges that they’re seeing is trying to hire qualified workers get the workforce back.”

The survey measured employer’s responses on workforce availability, supply chain and federal unemployment benefits. Burton says the additional money given to people on unemployment is hindering companies’ ability to hire. The survey shows 84% said “yes” when asked if the federal unemployment benefits had affected their ability to hire workers.

“About 75% of our members responded that they could increase production if they could just find the workers,” Burton said.

He says a big explosion of a retiring generation is another bump. “Baby boomers are retiring in this country at about 10,000 a day. We have about 40% of our workforce that’s going to be retiring within the next 10 years. And it’s very difficult. We don’t have the population to replace them,” said Burton.

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