Because manufacturing has grown faster than the economy as a whole since the recession ended, “(f)or the first time since the early 1960s, manufacturers have added jobs four years in a row. Couple that with the oil and gas boom and the thousands of miles of new pipeline being built, and the demand for skilled welders has risen sharply,” writes Matthew Phillips for Bloomberg Businessweek.
“Decades of attrition have left the U.S. with welders who largely lack the advanced skills needed today. The average age of a welder in the country is 55; the wave of coming retirements will leave manufacturers at a disadvantage. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers.”