The Next Generation of Six-Figure Earners?

Nancy Anderson
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Even if the days of Teamsters and UAW dominance are over, manufacturing workers in the US may well become the next generation of six-figure income earners.

Does that sound crazy?

Then consider this. Despite the trend toward continued high unemployment in the American job landscape, some industrial firms are finding it increasingly difficult to find manufacturing workers to fill available positions.

A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that several factors may be responsible for this strange phenomenon, including:

• The extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, which artificially makes job seekers more “selective” or in many cases, uninspired at best.

• The continued slump in the housing market. Homeowners that are “upside down” and owe more on their houses than they are worth have little or no incentive to pick up and relocate to areas where job markets are the strongest.

• A large cross-section of the 2.3 million unemployed Americans were released from middle-management and mid-range paying jobs. These individuals may find it difficult to qualify for higher paying jobs and even more difficult to adjust their finances adequately to make ends meet with lower-paying positions.

Beyond the Wall Street Journal’s observations, there’s also the expanding preference of younger workers to avoid getting their hands dirty. Today’s youth seems more apt to gravitate toward higher-technology jobs involving computers or mobile communications rather than the long-established, traditional jobs that manufacturing workers hold.

So what does all this mean?

Opportunity. And as Thomas Edison so eloquently put it:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Today, it seems, Edison’s comments ring truer than ever. Accordingly, if more people would recognize the opportunities that can unfold for manufacturing workers, the imbalance in the job market might be solved sooner than later. Better yet, the skills that can be learned through manufacturing jobs can almost invariably be applied in ways that enhance opportunities for promotion, job growth and entrepreneurialism.

Online resources such as specialize in matching employers with qualified manufacturing workers. The site has nearly 27,000 manufacturing-related jobs available, with over 60% of them posted in the last 14 days (as of July 30, 2010). Many of the jobs on offer compensation that falls in the top 25% of US wage earners, and with employers competing for reliable and conscientious people to fill those jobs, the opportunities are plentiful for those who are willing to work.

The law of supply and demand dictates that the highest prices are paid for the things that are hardest to come by. So let the colleges and universities continue to churn out IT and communications majors. At the present rate, we may well see the manufacturing workers of the future driving BMW’s and owning vacation homes.

By: David DiCola,

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