How will the manufacturing industry replace retiring workers?

As we have written previously, the domestic manufacturing sector is growing and both industry insiders and policymakers are investing in initiatives that will funnel more qualified workers to open jobs. 

These include efforts to improve engineering programs at universities, as well as increase wages for new hires. However, new information about current trends suggests that this may not be enough.

As shown by a report on, the latest challenges facing the fields of manufacturing, construction and engineering is the coming wave of Baby Boomer retirements. Skilled workers who were born between 1945 and 1964 may have spent most, if not all, of their working lives in these industries, but they are now between the ages of 50 and 69, and cannot be expected to remain in the workforce for much longer.

This is a problem for companies that have relied on their years of experience, and it is greater than it seems. In 2012, almost 19 percent of skilled trade workers were between 55-64, while 53 percent were over the age of 45. In the coming years, firms will have to not only maintain an experienced workforce, but also find ways to fill their dwindling ranks in the first place. It is not yet clear if younger workers will be able to join the industry as quickly as their elders leave it.

It is important for the federal and state governments to support business friendly policies that allow for manufacturing development, including that of CNC machining services. It is also crucial for policymakers to focus on encouraging young job seekers to consider this industry.