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Scott Parent
Marketing Communications Manager  
Monday, February 6, 2023

What Does the January U.S. Jobs Report Mean for Manufacturing?

With the U.S. jobs report blowing away expectations by adding 517,000 jobs in January and lowering the unemployment rate to 3.4%, it's clear that the economy is doing well despite the high-profile tech sector layoffs we’ve seen over the last few months. However, for American manufacturers, there are still not enough workers to fill the estimated 877,250 manufacturing jobs open through this year alone. Let’s take a look at what this means for factory owners and their businesses. 

The Good News 

The good news is that as long as the economy remains strong, so will consumer demand for goods from manufacturers. This should be encouraging news for factory owners since consumer confidence typically follows along with positive economic data like this job report. When people have more money and security in their lives, they tend to buy more things - something that manufacturers can benefit from greatly if they can produce enough goods to meet those demands.

The Bad News 

Unfortunately, there’s still not enough labor to fill available positions in manufacturing businesses across America. As a result, many factories are having difficulty producing enough products to meet customer demand as they struggle with having too few employees on board - which can lead to slower production times and higher costs associated with training new hires. This could mean trouble down the road if factories don't address this issue soon or find creative solutions like automation to unlock their factory’s potential. 

What’s the Solution?

Fortunately, factory owners aren't without options when it comes to tackling these labor shortages head-on - whether that be finding ways to incentivize potential workers who may otherwise feel discouraged from joining your team due to lower wages or other factors like childcare needs or transportation difficulties. It's also important for factories and their leadership teams alike to stay up-to-date on current employment trends so they can make sure their hiring practices are up-to-date with what potential employees may be looking for in terms of compensation or other benefits when considering new job opportunities.

Another path to consider is identifying certain tasks that could benefit from automation. This approach has numerous advantages compared to manual labor. By automating processes within your factory, you can save time and money while improving product quality and consistency. Additionally, automation eliminates human error from production processes and helps reduce safety risks as well as workforce fatigue caused by repetitive tasks. Furthermore, using machines reduces the need for repetitive manual labor which often leads to employee burnout or turnover rates being too high. Finally, automating processes increases data accuracy while providing real-time feedback regarding production output which can help inform better decision-making when it comes to future investments.   

Reducing Costs Through Automation 

Automated solutions are often expensive investments, but Robotics-as-a-Service drastically reduces those capital expenditures. The RaaS model allows companies to rent the robots rather than buy them outright. This allows factories to quickly deploy robots without making a large upfront investment or having to worry about maintenance costs. Furthermore, RaaS provides manufacturers with access to more advanced technology than they may have been able to afford on their own. This allows them to remain competitive without having to spend too much money on new technology.

Machines require less maintenance than humans and are able to run for much longer hours without breaks - meaning fewer man-hours required per task - resulting in significant savings on labor costs over time. Additionally, automating specific processes can lead to improved efficiency within the entire production cycle which leads to increased output and further cost savings down the line such as reduced energy consumption due to decreased idling times or fewer raw materials used due to improved accuracy in production processes. 

What’s Next?

It’s hard to predict exactly what the economy will do in the next 6-12 months. Tech sector layoffs continue, yet the January jobs report shows the lowest unemployment rate we’ve seen in more than 50 years. It’s hard to know what it all means. However, one thing seems certain: If consumer demand remains strong, and inflation remains in check, manufacturers are going to need to find a way to unlock the full productivity of their factories in the most efficient and cost-effective way in order to meet those needs. 

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