by Ed Eisbrenner

According to a new survey by the American Society of Quality’s, ASQ, 2018 Manufacturing Outlook survey. For the first time since 2013, the shortage of skilled workers overtakes the economy as the greatest hurdle manufacturers anticipate facing in the year ahead.

According to the survey, 41 % of all manufactures say finding skilled workers will be the No. 1 challenge in 2018, compared to 36% percent in last year’s survey.

More than 650 manufacturing professionals responded this 2018 survey. To help find skilled candidates they need, 39% of respondents say they have hired an agency to help, while 30% are working with local colleges on programs that teach students the skills needed in manufacturing. Fifteen percent say the enhanced their benefits package to attract qualified candidates.