Manufacturing wages are rising at a rapid clip in some major industrial states as shortages of certain skills and gradually falling unemployment rates force more companies to pay up to attract and retain workers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that although manufacturing wages on a nationwide basis are still rising slowly—and they lag behind the average increases for all private-sector workers—they are growing faster than overall wages in certain states.
In Texas, wages for all types of production workers in factories grew an average of 6.3% from a year earlier, compared with nationwide overall private-sector wage growth of 2.3%, according to U.S. government data for the three months ended Aug. 31. Factory-wage growth was 4.4% in Washington State, 4% in Oregon and 3.1% in Indiana in that period.
In Indiana, makers of engines, recreational vehicles and other products have seen a strong rebound since the 2008-09 recession.
“If you drive through Elkhart County, you’ll see Help Wanted signs everywhere,” said Jeffery Tryka, investor-relations chief at Thor Industries Inc., which makes many of its recreational vehicles in the northern Indiana counties of Elkhart and LaGrange. Thor said higher labor costs, including wages and training, helped pinch profit margins in the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 31.
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