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TAPPED OUT? Area manufacturers are optimistic about their futures, with a caveat: they need to find more effective ways to attract quality people in this seller’s market of low unemployment.
By Mary MacDonell Belisle
mall- and medium-size Minnesota manufacturers are encouraged. The timing appears right for steady growth and prosperity, according to the 2017 State of Manufacturing survey, conducted by Enterprise Minnesota. Fifty-eight percent of 400 manufacturing CEOs anticipate economic expansion in 2017. However, manufacturers face a potential impediment to progress––lack
of proper skills or education (according to 51 percent of respondents), and lack of applicants, or lack of interest in the work (42 percent). Attracting and retaining employees is a huge concern, behind healthcare and government regulation, according to the survey results. Eight and nine years ago, applicants walked unsolicited into Starrett Tru-Stone
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Technologies for work, according to General Manager Carlo Schwinn. Recruiting now takes more effort and advertising dollars. Two skilled vacancies have been wanting for over seven months. Midsota Manufacturing is behind on production because it doesn’t have the manpower to get items out the door, an urgent need, President Joel Bauer said.
Cold Spring Brewing Company is having difficulty filling the night shift and matching “bulk and brain” for batching jobs, said Nichole Holthaus, human resource manager. “The unemployment rate is very low right now, so there are fewer active job seekers in general,” according to Katlyn Weisert, human resource generalist for ProcessPro.