Manufacturing survey highlights the labor shortage in the food and beverage industry

By Pan Demetrakakes for Food Processing

When it comes to manufacturing in the new year, the food industry is optimistic, with many looking forward to increased hiring, output and capital expenditures.

That’s the most significant takeaway from Food Processing’s 18th annual Manufacturing Survey, an online poll taken in the last quarter of 2018. The mood is so optimistic, in fact, that getting enough labor — both skilled and unskilled — is one of the biggest concerns.

Asked about staffing plans for 2019, a near-majority – 48 percent – said their companies planned to add to the workforce, while another 33 percent said they will probably maintain current staffing levels. Only 13 percent indicated that they will reduce their workforce this year.

But getting these workers is going to be a problem in at least some places. One respondent wrote that his company’s highest priority will be “maintaining a solid workforce. We have had other companies recruiting in our parking lot.”

To learn more, read "2019 Manufacturing Outlook: Glass Full but Jobs Empty" from Food Processing.