Amid growing anxiety about the disappearance of factory jobs, thousands of them are going unfilled across the U.S.
The number of open manufacturing jobs has been rising since 2009, and this year stands at the highest level in 15 years, according to Labor Department data.
Factory work has evolved over the past 15 years or so as companies have invested in advanced machinery requiring new sets of skills. Many workers who were laid off in recent decades—as technology, globalization and recession wiped out lower-skilled roles—don’t have the skills to do today’s jobs. The mismatch poses a growing problem for the economy, stymieing the ability of businesses to increase production and weighing on growth, executives say.