The Washington Post told readers that the manufacturing industry is suffering from incompetent managers and therefore is not hiring as many workers as it should. According to the Post, managers don't realize that it is necessary to raise wages to attract more workers and instead are whining that they can't get the workers they need to fill vacancies.

While the Post describes the situation as a being a "shortage," the data make it clear that the problem is simply incompetent managers. As managers should know, the way to get more workers is to offer higher wages, however this clearly is not happening in the manufacturing sector. The wages of production workers in durable goods sector has been trailing the rate of inflation for several years.

Change in Average Hourly Wage of Production Non-Supervisory Workers, Durable Goods Manufacturing

manufact-wagesSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The article reports that a skilled operator-programmer in one of the manufacturing sectors profiled in the article earns just $18-$28 an hour ($36,000-$56,000 annually). By contrast, last week the Post reported that even family practitioners earned almost $210,000 a year, while the median annual earnings for doctors in other specializations could be more than twice as high. If the managers of manufacturing companies do not understand how markets work, as the Post claims, then it is likely to seriously damage the future prospects for manufacturing in the United States.

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