U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration just released a new report that describes why manufacturing jobs are good jobs using compelling facts and data from the Quarterly Workforce Indicators report. 

New hires in the manufacturing sector fare better than new hires in other industries.

  • New hires in manufacturing enjoy an earnings premium relative to other new hires. This premium peaked during the recession but has returned to near its pre-recession average. At the end of 2011, the manufacturing earnings premium for new hires stood at about 38 percent.
  • At the end of 2011, the ratio of new hire earnings to incumbent earnings was about 8 percentage points higher in manufacturing than in other industries.
  • Over time, the earnings of new hires relative to incumbents have been consistently higher in manufacturing. From 2000 to 2011, the earnings of new hires were about 70 percent of incumbents’ earnings in manufacturing, compared to an average of 60 percent in other industries.
  • Since the recession began, real average earnings for new hires in manufacturing grew 3.5 percent, while earnings of incumbents in manufacturing grew about 2.4 percent. Over the same time, real earnings for hires in other industries were flat, and earnings for incumbents in other industries declined.

We have reported before about the difficulties of recent college grads to find meaningful employment, and that trend is widely reported in the press.

So imagine our delight to see authoritative statistics from the Dept. Of Commerce, with data from the Quarterly Workforce Indicators report, cross checked and validated against the Current Population Survey, that confirm that manufacturing new hires consistently earn a premium over others in other industries!

How big a deal is the earnings premium?

earnings premium figure 1

Figure 1 illustrates the earnings premium, that is, the average percentage earnings gap enjoyed by new hires in manufacturing compared to new hires in other industries. Prior to the recession, earnings of new hires in manufacturing were about 37 percent higher than new hire earnings in other industries. The premium for new hires in manufacturing began to increase in 2008, peaking at just over 50 percent in 2010. The premium has declined during the recovery but remains above its pre-recession level.

Looking for a career? Looking for Earnings?

The opportunities in manufacturing are convincing.

About a career in Precision Machining.

Find training near you.

 Earnings of New Hires In Manufacturing report from Dept. of Commerce


The Indiana/ Southern Ohio CPMPA Chapter is hosting a meeting and family social at Dallara Factory Tour on Friday, September 27, 2013.

Indy Car Factory Tour
Indy Car Factory Tour

The meeting will be held at the Dallara Indy Car Factory, 1201 Main Street, Speedway, IN. beginning at 1:00 p.m.

At 1:30p.m. a session on education programming for 2014 will be held, followed by a factory tour, race car rides and reception.

Focus for our attendees will be to tour the Indy Car Factory to get a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing process of a real Dallara Indy Car. 

Of course other activities will make this a fun as well as educational event for attendees, including:

  • Street Legal Racecar Rides offer an opportunity to ride in a racecar and capture the experience with a photo. 
  • No visit is complete without a Green Screen Photo with an Indy Car, putting you on the Yard of Bricks at the Indy Motor Speedway!   

For more details and sign up about the PMPA meeting click LINK.

For more information about Dallara click here.

Chapter programming such as this Indy Car Experience Social  is one more way that PMPA provides opportunities for members to network and learn.

The 2011 Reduction Drinking Water Act  reduces the permissible Lead content in plumbing fixtures, fittings and components with wetted surfaces  to a maximum of “not more than a weighted average of 0.25% (lead) when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.”

This is why the new regulation.
This is why the new regulation.

This law goes into effect nationwide on January 4, 2014. It is in addition to other state regulations already in effect, including California AB 1953, Vermont’s Lead in Consumer Products Law, Act 193, and  Maryland’s House Bill 372.

Certification by an independent third party that the products comply with the lead content limits are a requirement of the federal and some of these state laws.

ANSi/NSF 372 contains the lead content evaluation procedure originally detailed in ANSI/NSF 61 Annex G as well as testing and material lead content analysis. This standard applies ” to any drinking water system component that conveys or dispenses water for human consumption through drinking or cooking.” It matches the scope called for in AB1953 as well as the new federal rule.

The version available at the link above clarifies intent with regard to percent of threads regarding wetted contact area…

What are the implications regarding the upcoming January deadline for the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act?

  1. You may be getting more orders for leaded products right now in an effort to beat the deadline
  2. You will not be able to manufacture components for ‘wetted application” from traditional High Lead materials after the law goes into effect in January.
  3. You will need to use less machinable (lower lead) materials for order that you receive going forward.
  4. Your shop throughput, efficiency, and capacity will be reduced by the move to less machinable materials.

Make sure that your sales people, estimators, and shop planners  are up to speed on the consequences of this change to ‘unleaded.’

Our article “Adjusting  to Unleaded” will help you understand this issue and its implications for your shop.

Our thanks to Chris Johnston Photography for the photo.

First you have to recognize it.

It is difficult to intelligently manage risk if you don’t even know how to measure that risk. What are the units?

The media talks today about “tapering” as if it is going to be news. Yet they fail to report the actual reality of the market consequences of the Fed’s Asset purchases.

First, a graph of the Fed Balance Sheet:

fed balance sheet

One result of this is a Volatility beyond our awareness.

Last week,  the yield on the 10-year Treasury hit 2.855%.

On April 26, the yield was 1.64%.

That is an astounding 74% increase. In Treasury yields.


For perspective, if the Dow had gained as much over the same time frame- it would now be  in the  25,551 neighborhood!

The media is missing the story.

We have unprecedented volatility in our financial system today.

So how do we see it as manufacturers?

DGORDER_July 2013

The Commerce Department said on Monday (July) durable goods orders dropped 7.3 percent as demand for goods ranging from aircraft to computers and defense equipment fell. That was the biggest decline since last August and snapped three consecutive months of gains.”- Reuters

Contrast that to the gushing ISM report for July from the Economic Populist blog: “The July ISM Manufacturing Survey shows PMI had a blow out increase of 4.5 percentage points to 55.4%.   Manufacturing has moved into sold growth with new orders increasing by 6.4 percentage points and production roaring in an 11.6 percentage point gain.   Even the employment index increased.”

These are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times. We need to look for the story behind the story behind the story.

I am reminded of a classic Richard Pryor/Groucho Marx line  “Are you gonna believe me or your lyin’ eyes!?”

When it comes to economic indicators, It is in our best interest to try to recognize and challenge the underlying assumptions.

How do you intelligently manage risk in the current economy?

Every one has a To Do List. Calibrate the gages, do the safety Audit, check the grinders , prepare for performance reviews.  But what about a “To  Don’t List?”

What else should be on your To Don't List?
What else should be on your To Don’t List?

I was having a great conversation with a PMPA member about the need for editing in our shops- whose job is it to decide it is time to fire (edit) unprofitable customers? for example-  when they mentioned in passing that something was on their To Don’t list.

I was on that new idea like a guy in the bleachers on hot dogs  on $1 hot dog night.

I was on it like ...
I was on it like …

We all maintain lists- To Do Lists-  on scraps of paper,  special forms, our cell phones and tablets, on apps… Yes, there is an app for that… including one aptly called, Anxiety

But who among us maintains a list of what we should not be doing?

Do you have a To Don’t List? What is on it that you can share?


Oh, and if you have a minute, check out the To Don’t List Blog

John Antonio’s To Don’t List

Hot dog eating



Form I-9

Friday August 16, 2013
The US Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services provides the form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization for citizens and non-citizens to be employed in the United States. Both employees and employers are required to complete the form.

A lot of information is available stating that a college education is a great investment. The writers  back their statements with data and statistics too.

What many fail to say, however, is the “Your results may vary” disclaimer.

If you can land a degree-relevant job, their data and statistics are correct.

But if you cannot land a degree-relevant job, the amount you are wagering  on college is your

  • actual out of pocket PLUS
  • proceeds from college loans PLUS
  • interest that you will have to pay until the loans are paid off.

All the while “NOT” getting a payoff for the “investment.”

How large is the "Luck Component" of your career plan?
How large is the “Luck Component” of your career plan?

So what are the chances of failing to land that degree-relevant job?

The good news is that underemployment among young college  grads is now only 44% according to The Atlantic.

That is good news because  last year the figure was over 53% were jobless or underemployed.

Sounds like more than a bit of luck is part of the college degree pathway.

The odds  of landing a degree relevant job aren’t terribly encouraging while the debt and investment consequences are substantial- regardless of employment outcome.

What of those who do not find degree relevant employment?

According to the BLS Table 6:  “15.1% of all persons with bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.”

Here’s the table

15.1 % of  persons bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.
15.1 % of persons bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.

Starting a career in precision machining does not require a substantial input of luck.

Within a year of skills training at a local community college you can have the skills needed to land a well paying job as a precision machinist. Our shops are hiring, sentiment for employment among our business trends respondents remains above 90%, and on average our shops are scheduling almost 3 hours of overtime. Each week.

A career in advanced manufacturing as a skilled precision machinist doesn’t take luck.

Thought you might like to know…

Find training

Proof the jobs are there

About a career in precision machining.


What will our shops look like in 2020?

2020 is only 7 years away.

I think that it is going to be a lot different than just the “More Automation” trend we’ve been seeing for the last few years.

Over the last eight years, our shops have been adding automation to better compete against low labor cost manufacturing abroad and to improve shop capability.

I know, because at the end of 2003, we took a mission to China to see how we could better compete with the emerging dragon that was Chinese manufacturing.

What do the next 8 years hold in store for us? What will be the forces at work to reshape our shop as we know it?

Have a look at these two graphs from BLS:

This tells me something important-almost three quarters of all employees will be over 55!
…and this is how we get there…

Not looking so good for adding younger talent according to these charts.

The projected labor force growth over the next 10 years will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation; as a result, the labor force is projected to grow at a slower rate than in the last several decades

Here’s my  (tongue in cheek) artist’s conception of the shop of the future.

Two old supermachinists wired in to operate 18 machines via remote CNC

I hope you have a better vision than mine!

BLS Graphs

What is your vision for the shop of the future? 25 words or less please for Round 1. Thoughtful, shocking, and compelling visions will be considered for  an expanded treatment in a future post. Post your comment below.