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So Many U.S. Manufacturing Jobs, So Few Skilled Workers

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Credit: Wang Solutions

U.S. manufacturers are failing to fill thousands of vacant jobs, surprising when 14 million people are searching for work.

Technology giant Siemens, for example, has over 3,000 jobs open around the country. More than half require science, technology, engineering and math-related skills. Other companies report job vacancies, with some positions open for at least nine months.

Most of the jobs hard to fill are for skilled trades, Internet technology, engineers, sales representatives and machine operators. Manufacturing is hurt by a dearth of skilled workers.

American colleges are producing fewer math and science graduates, leading to a skills mismatch. Math, engineering, technology and computer science students accounted for about 11.1 percent of college graduates in 1980, according to government data. That share dropped to about 8.9 percent in 2009.

"A lot of the college graduates have chosen a curriculum and degree that does not give them the necessary science and math skills to be of immediate benefit to companies such as ours," says Dennis Bray, president and CEO of Contour Precision Group.

"What we have been saying for quite a while is that even though there is a high unemployment rate, it's very difficult to find skilled people," says Jeff Owens, president of ATS, a manufacturing consulting services company.

From Reuters
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