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Survey: 44 percent of manufacturers have open jobs

By - Last modified: March 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM

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The manufacturing sector in Central Pennsylvania is seeing a steady business recovery, but 44 percent of companies have open jobs and trouble finding people with necessary skills to fill them, according to a survey from the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.

The York-based association found that 44 percent of responding manufacturers are experiencing a slow recovery and have openings to fill, but they've become "very cautious" about who and how many people they hire, according to the survey released on Monday.

The same percentage of companies said there's a mismatch between the skills that job seekers have and those required by the job the company has open, according to the survey.

The survey asked companies: "Why does employment growth remain so far below prerecession levels?" It did so in the context that there were unnamed reports of labor productivity increases enabling the economy to return to prerecession output levels.

More than 29 percent of companies said the recession is over, but their labor force is a long way from returning to prerecession levels. The same percentage said vacancies are growing at their companies because jobs remain open while they search for the right person.

Overall, more than 91 percent of manufacturers surveyed said business is slowly recovering. However, nearly 18 percent said it hasn't been enough to hire people over the past year.

Regional business surveys have found similar trends in manufacturing.

The association last week sent the survey to its more than 350 members and affiliates, representing a cross-section of mostly small, medium and large manufacturers. Thirty-five companies responded to the survey. The results are not a scientific sampling of all companies.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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