By Rick Newman
Business is so good for SEI Manufacturing in Cromwell, Ind., that there’s only one thing preventing explosive growth: a shortage of workers. “I could double my revenue if I could get the workers,” says Nathan Scherer, the 37-year-old owner of the company, which makes marine components. “It frustrates me. I never would have thought the biggest barrier to my success would be an inability to get workers.”
President Trump has promised to “bring back” manufacturing jobs he claims have been shipped to countries like China and Mexico, and revive fading industries such as coal and steel. But in many pockets of the country, the problem isn’t shuttered factories or abandoned mines but humming businesses that can’t find the staffers they need.
The Labor Department reports nearly 6 million jobs open nationwide, close to the highest level in the 17 years the government has been gathering such data. The unemployment rate, at 4.4%, is below the level many economists consider “full employment,” or the rate at which employers must start boosting wages to lure the workers they need.
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