...But when demand for workers spikes, wages climb, too. Except for a handful of job titles, there isn't much wage inflation in Chicago manufacturing.
The median manufacturing worker in the Chicago metro area saw wages rise 5 percent from 2012 to 2016 to $33,000 a year, even as wages for all occupations rose 6.9 percent in that period. The average 151,000 U.S. manufacturing workers quitting their jobs each month in 2016, presumably to take higher-paying jobs, was still 27 percent lower than the number quitting before the recession. Taken together, the data suggest that employers aren't so desperate for talent that they're willing to raise wages.
Yet the companies that have the easiest time attracting candidates are the ones that pay the most, says Anne Edmunds, regional vice president at staffing firm Manpower Group...
...Employers may not be able to afford to raise wages if they aren't making a high-margin product, or if they need to invest in new machinery, says Jim Nelson, vice president for external affairs at the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.
Anyway, higher pay won't improve the quality of applicants. Job-seekers need 10th-grade math and reading skills—"Too many people apply for manufacturing jobs who are unable to read a blueprint"—and they need to pass a drug test and show up on time. "Manufacturing is not the consolation prize for an occupation," he says. "It is a high-skilled, rewarding career."
Except it's a career that in Chicago has a median annual wage of $32,860. That's higher than other occupations that draw from a similar worker pool, like janitorial services or low-skilled health care like home health aides. But unlike in manufacturing, wages in those fields have grown 10 to 15 percent in recent years to roughly $27,000.It's a good article - read the whole thing.