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  Press Release
For Immediate Release
8/3/04
Contact: Roger Herman

Manufacturing Up, Employment Up... Temporarily

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in July for the 14th consecutive month, according to the latest figures released by the Institute for Supply Management™, in a report respected for its depth and validity.

The monthly survey results also revealed that new orders and production are growing and more employees are being hired. "This information flies in the face of all the negative chatter about manufacturing in this country," observes Roger Herman, a workforce trend watcher.

"As futurists, we have been watching the steady growth of manufacturing in the United States. Conditions are a lot more healthy than most people believe," says Herman, CEO of The Herman Group, a North Carolina-based think tank and consulting firm. "Manufacturing employers will continue to bring people back from layoff, as well as hire more people to perform the jobs that are being created by the growth. Before long, employers will discover that the pool of skilled, qualified workers is more shallow than they believe."

Herman, author of Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People, warns that we are in the beginning stages of history’s most severe shortage of skilled labor. "This limited supply of trained workers could dampen the growth of this important sector," he warns. "Already the IMS report is showing that supplier deliveries are slower. Without a sufficient supply of qualified employees, manufacturers and their suppliers will experience a frustrating slow-down at the time the economy most needs the boost."

The solution is for employers to become more aggressive in their long-range workforce planning, Herman suggests. Manufacturers and community technical colleges must collaborate more to train tomorrow’s workforce today. "The longer business leaders and educators wait to get connected and get busy, the more vulnerable their local economies will become."

Inventories are declining, says the ISM study, indicating that we can anticipate further increases in manufacturing to build a stronger supply. "Even with the xenophobia about jobs going overseas, the U.S. manufacturing sector will continue to grow as long as it has a ready workforce capable of getting the job done," Herman forecasts.

The Herman Group is a firm of consulting futurists concentrating on workforce and workplace trends and their implications. Emphasis is placed on employee selection and retention as critical strategies. Included in the firm are researchers, professional speakers, authors, and consultants. The Herman Group is based in Greensboro, NC, with affiliates in Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Port Louis, Mauritius. Contact Joyce Gioia-Herman at 336-210-3548 or e-mail: joyce@hermangroup.com.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


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