Mystifying Manufacturing Numbers: What Should We Make of Them?

Business management guru Tom Peters once wrote, “If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” Well, American manufacturing leaders are paying attention to the increasingly complex circumstances they face—and they are quite confused. The latest data on manufacturing are mystifying in their extremes. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Following are a selection of numbers that help highlight the current state of U.S. manufacturing. 44.2. The median age of manufacturer worker in the U.S. today. While that’s comfortably within the range of other sectors—the median age of workers in retail is 37.7 years while the median age of truckers is 46.4–the number continues to increase. According to SHRM, the median age of manufacturing workers in 2000 was 40.5. This is part of the challenge we face: with 2.5 million Boomers preparing to drop out of the manufacturing workforce in the coming years, the need for new talent becomes more pressing.

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