Executives in the plastics industry are facing an enormous work shortage

Ahead of the pandemic, a sign outside Premier OEM’s rotational molding facility in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio could bring 15-20 applicants out of the 22,000 vehicles that pass daily in a week.

The maker of parts and accessories for off-road vehicles did well.

Sales of roof tops, luggage boxes, in-dash stereo systems, and premium coolers grew 10 to 15 percent per year, reaching approximately $ 15.5 million.

After the pandemic was proclaimed, trail riding gained popularity. COVID-19 prevented indoor gatherings and social distancing became the norm to reduce the risk of infection.

Business at Premier OEM should be better than ever. And it would be if founder Jim Nagy could fill around 35 vacant positions. He said the labor shortage has cost the company about $ 7 million this year, and company officials are now creating some part-time positions to appeal to more people looking for jobs.

It’s a well-known refrain as manufacturers struggle to fill vacancies and expand their talent pipeline. Manufacturing lost 578,000 jobs during the pandemic-challenged year 2020 – a number that translates into job gains for nearly six years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At almost any point in time, however, around 500,000 jobs remained open in production, the office also says.

According to a report from consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. from May 2021 with the title “Creating Paths for Tomorrow’s Workers Today”.

According to Perc Pineda, chief economist for the Plastics Industry Association in Washington, many of the lost and unfilled jobs are in the plastics industry.

“We are no longer an industry with over 1 million employees. That is kind of disappointing,” said Pineda during an online economic update on August 13 for the mold department of the equipment committee of the plastics association. “Don’t feel bad; you are not alone. It was an economy-wide event that happened last year.”

The U.S. plastics industry accounted for more than 1 million jobs and $ 432 billion in shipments in 2019, the trade association reported last year. At the time, California had the most jobs in the plastics industry at 79,700.

But that has changed too.

“Texas is now the state with the most plastic workers. It is no longer California,” Pineda said.

Companies should expect to pay more to attract, train and retain employees, the economist also said.

“If we’re looking for some sort of guideline, companies should really factor in about 3.1 percent higher labor costs this year than last year,” Pineda said, adding that it will cover the issues in greater depth on Sept. 21 when the association reveals an updated one Report on the Size and Impact of the US Plastics Industry.

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