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Less Workers Qualified To Fill NJ’s Growing Manufacturing Sector

Flickr User, Bisgovuk

New Jersey is not keeping pace with the rest of the nation in terms of adding jobs in the manufacturing sector.

According to data from the U.S. Labor Department, manufacturers nationwide have added jobs from February 2010 to February 2012 at a faster pace than the rest of the economy. Comparably, New Jersey lost 1,800 manufacturing jobs in February.

One reason is that employers are finding workers that aren’t qualified to do manufacturing work and don’t have the training necessary to do the jobs.

“There is a real problem in recruiting people to work in the high-tech jobs because they just don’t have the skills that are required” said James Hughs, an ecomomist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

He says part of that may be because potential workers have drifted off into other fields like engineering and health care.

“Manufacturing does not seem like a glamorous occupation, but it is a well paying endeavor. We do have a miss-match of the requirements of those jobs and peoples’ educational requirements to fill them” said Hughes.

Hisorically, one of New Jersey’s strengths was its manufacturing workforce, said Hughes.  “But that dates back 30 or 40 years ago and that workforce has faded from the scene and there hasn’t been any grooming of replacements for them.”

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