For companies considering a new location, labor is of great concern. Skilled labor availability (#2 with 89.8 percent) and labor costs (#3 with 89.6 percent) have become key site selection factors. The labor market has tightened significantly, which is causing wage rate pressures (wages are projected to increase 3 percent this year according to a 2016 Society for Human Resource Managers’ survey). Many human resource managers are saying available positions for skilled workers seem to be more plentiful than qualified applicants.
Because the labor market has a limited qualified labor pool, companies, economic development organizations, and community colleges are working “hand in hand” to develop a pipeline of local workers. This is especially true for manufacturing companies that have to demonstrate to high school students, parents, and guidance counselors that new manufacturing jobs have better pay and require more advanced technical training than ever.