The Fourth Revolution: How is a Skilled Labor Shortage Affecting Manufacturing?

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Though the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in recent memory, the skilled labor shortage doesn’t show any signs of letting up. On this episode of The Fourth Revolution by Bartell, host Daniel Litwin sat down with Randy Wolken, President & CEO of MACNY, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York to discuss changing trends in manufacturing, and the ripple effect that’s having on the labor force.

“The availability of labor has really changed the way we look at both how we hire people and how business gets done today,” Wolken said.

Unemployment in the United States is down to 3.6%, which is the lowest level it’s been since 1969. “It’s an exciting time,” Wolken admitted. In the past 10 years, the economy has seen a rising trend in more U.S.-based manufacturing, which is helping drive that low unemployment rate. “But that also means its harder to find people.”

At play in this change is the fourth industrial revolution, being led by automation and efficiency, with more data to analyze. Companies of all sizes are poised to take advantage of this new revolution, particularly small and mid-sized businesses, Wolken said. But the positions that take advantage of these tools are more analytical and require a more experienced skill-set, one that is either phasing out due to an aging workforce or hasn’t had enough time for the workforce to master.

“It comes down to the types of people you have on the team, your ability to implement new technology, take advantage of them, and reach new markets,” Wolken said.

He highlighted the top 10 trends he’s seen in manufacturing, and shares what that means for industry leaders looking to attract more skilled laborers.

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