Are manual machinist job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

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jan hartlieb in Elmhurst, Illinois

87 months ago

where are the jobs?

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Bill in Hazel Green, Alabama

75 months ago

This trade is dying in a big hurry. Cheap imported tooling and the decline of manufacturing in this country are causing most machine shops to either shift their focus or close down. Jobs are scarce and there's no hope for a reversal either. What few jobs that are left won't last much longer either. The good days are long gone.

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Robert Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

75 months ago

As a manual machinist going through all the tough times that others are, i know that we have two things to look forward to in the future, (1) times get better, then worse, than better, than worse, etc. and (2) sooner or later everything will wear out and need to be replaced. Local machinists will win over something that has to be shipped from over seas if it is a small enough a project

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Bill in Hazel Green, Alabama

74 months ago

Robert Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois said: As a manual machinist going through all the tough times that others are, i know that we have two things to look forward to in the future, (1) times get better, then worse, than better, than worse, etc. and (2) sooner or later everything will wear out and need to be replaced. Local machinists will win over something that has to be shipped from over seas if it is a small enough a project

Yes, I agree that there will always be a certain amount of work for machinists, but there will be very little of it and many skilled people will be forced into other occupations. Those that remain will find themselves fighting over jobs and trying to keep their shops open with scant profits.

We are seeing such a decline in manufacturing that I fear all of our futures are in jeopardy. Industry built this country and its absence will mean a sure decline of our quality of life as well. We are already seeing that decline and it's going to get a lot worse too.

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micky62 in Patchogue, New York

74 months ago

Yes, I agree. Sad that we soon will have almost no skilled metal workers left. Thing is, you can't train guys in a month either. Takes years. Can't blame guys though. You can make more dough doing easier jobs.

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Robert Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

74 months ago

I'm taking myself, my manual skills and my tools back to school for C.N.C. I'm 50 years old. Better to have both abilities if you can.
Good luck and God Bless the rest of you.

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Ken Ufheil in Plano, Texas

74 months ago

Robert Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois said: I'm taking myself, my manual skills and my tools back to school for C.N.C. I'm 50 years old. Better to have both abilities if you can.
Good luck and God Bless the rest of you.

Looks like I'll be doing the same at age 46. Fortunately for me , since I'm deaf, the State will cover my tuition and books. I recommend any machinist or novice in Tx to look into the AAS and Certificate programs at TSTC Waco. I seem to be leaning towards that, even though I may have to sell my home, my cherished Hudson Hornet and other toys to start over again, at least to pay R& B , food, etc while going to school full time.
Manual machining is a dying trade. You'd best be also learning CAD, CAM, like Solidworks, Gibbs CAM, Espirit, etc. I could also suggest learning Wire EDM, Sinker EDM. You can easily see what employers are looking for by reading job descriptions on sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, etc. Personally I find Monster easier and less annoying than CareerBuilder. We need a kind of support group. It's hard not to let the negativity and depression get to us at times, been there, done that. Kenneth

PS: I'm Chicago born and raised, ended up in Tx 36 years ago. I think there's more manufacturing jobs up north than down here, but I may be wrong.

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Richard Clifton in Springfield, South Carolina

71 months ago

my constituates I've been in the trade for over 40 years and my father before me. I'm a Machinist/ toolmaker and Ive built many jigs and fixtures , cnc's our the same as any level of production, at any time in our industrial past. Fact being there far more expensive, less productive than machining 50 years ago. It's fact , when I first broke into this trade one of my first jobs was running screw machines and hydrotells, Ive worked from cal to south carolina, job shopping, Its the nature of the beast ups and downs, and the problems are still the same, management-overpaid and less knowledge than 30 years ago.

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Flyman in York, Pennsylvania

70 months ago

I'm convinced that opportunities for strictly manual machininsts are very few and far between. almost every shop, even little Mom & Pop shops have a couple CNC mills and lathes and if you don't at least know how to make simple set-ups, read the programs, and make offset adjustments you are not going to be considered for a job.

I retired as a manager of a large machine shop in the spring of 2005. I started as a machinist and then model maker and had no problem getting hands-on machining positions from the mid 1960's to the early 1980's. I used to live in northern NJ and there were hundreds and hundreds of small jobbing shops in that area and jobs were always plentiful. I transferred to PA in 1984 to another area that was also full of small machine shops. Now that I'm retired I've tried to get manual machinist positions and I'm feeling that besides being in an economic downturn there is also a prevalent age bias. I know I have at least as much skill as many of the other applicants and have more more experience in various types of machining but I might get one interview but never hear from them again. I even tell employers they don't have to provide me with health benefits which saves them hundreds of dollars a month. I was working from October 2008 to February 2009 but was laid off due to lack of work.

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larry averett in Springville, Utah

66 months ago

In Utah, manual machinist jobs for sure are on the decline. There is really only one place in the state I know of that even has a school to train machinist. However, they are geared towards training in cnc's and programing, in short they train operators, I'm working after 40 something years in the trade with operators mostly, few have a general machinist background. Utah has lost a lot of industry, and I was hopeing the rest of the states were doing better. I can't really see the big picture.

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R. Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

When I was a young man, if you lived in the Mid West and were a machinist,.. you were said to be set for life. Just like the auto workers of Detroit and the iron workers of Pennsylvania we seem to be a dying breed. We will come back though. We can't keep buying from outside this country forever and not learn the folly. There is a chain reaction to one branch of American employment on the rest of the tree.
Smaller orders will still be made here because that also is cost effective.
Parts will eventually wear out for EVERYTHING !!!
I am upgrading my machinist skills in school and will work anything that will put a buck in my pocket for now. sooner or later the econmy has to get better and we'll all be working killer overtime again, and swapping poverty stories on lunch breaks with each other.
I'll have to work longer anyways because my retirement (investments) benefits are about gone.
All this seems to be about the rich getting richer and the poor,..

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Kevin Mays in Charlotte, North Carolina

66 months ago

I' m looking at the experience you guys have and the thing I see that happened is companies just stopped investing in the work force I' m 32 and I had a great 6 year run after I was laid off from the mom and pop shop I was apprenticing at in 2002 for a few hours. So think about this I'm up against guys with 20+ years. Companies just recylcle the same workers over and over again and when they leave the knowledge will leave too.

I always thought of tradesmen as a brotherhood like you see with the construction trades, metalworkin trade is just not organized at all for what you have to know the pay does not add up plus the cost of the tools of the trade. How can you run CNC but have no clue on how to run manuals!

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R. Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

In response to Kevin Mays and his last comment. I am in school for c.n.c. and I have a wealth of experience on the manual machines. I also don't view people graduating from these classes who just learned the difference of a c-clamp from a micrometer (I own several mics.). In the employment hunt I don't feel as though I have anything to worry about since I have appx 15 yrs. over all machine shop experience. Only the experienced men like myself whom were laid off are of any concern as cpmpetition for a job.
This economy will get better sooner or later. The major question is how well will we deal with gatting by until then.

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N.l. Byiers in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

How to get by...there's the big question.If I might,let me share bsome of the things I've found work in about 30 years association with the trade.
First and foremost:Don't give up.As a bunch of people have already stated,there are ups and downs in the trade.
Second: What can you do?When I started in this trade,I had grown up in farm country,where you make do or do without.This lead to a great deal of improvization,and forced me to develope an imaginatio.When I got laid off last July,I cut back on a lot of luxuries(if you don't cut the fat,sometimes you don't get the bread and beans),and began to look at possibilities.Within the first month I bought and refurbished a classic gear drive lathe,made 3 times the cost of the lathe on a pickup job for someone that was restoring a 1940 Massy Fregeson tractor,and sold the lathe for a profit to a tool collector(early 1950's Southbend9").Took the money,paid some bills,bought some tool steel stock,another lathe.Made sheath knives from the tool steel using a beanch grinder and drillpress,turned an average of $75.00 per knife.Got to admit that I've been making knives for about 30 years,but that worked out to about $25 per hour out on my back porch.Did picup with the lathe,refurbished early tools for the collectors,and evan did a bit of blacpowder repair and gunsmithing.Just paid cash for a small mill,got my act. tanks refilLed for my torch,and bought a case of dark beer today.
Third:I don't care if you are Union or not,you have to understand one certian fact:THERE IS NO-ONE WHO IS GOING TO RESCUE YOU BUT YOURSELF!Folks,we are the core of a culture that stretches back t5o that first guy that took a stone and hit another stone to make a cutting edge tool.We should not fear folks buying outside products AS LONG AS WE CAN MAKE IT BETTER!

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R. Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

65 months ago

N.I. Byers.
You are an inspiration. During depression days people did things we wouldn't think that we should do because we aren't desparate enough.
I am considering buying a small tool/drill bit sharpening machine, a small generator for the back of a minivan and drive from large company to large company and doing my thing. It may sound strange but these things we think to do in desparation can actually lead to something better than we had before. I stole this idea from a retired guy who needed to get out of the house a couple days a week (before his wife would ring his neck for being under foot) for something to do and a surprising amount of cash. He later told me he would have retired earlier to do this if he knew the money and the freedom this would bring.

Keep thinking guys. No matter what,.. TIMES WILL TURN AROUND !!!!

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N.l. Byiers in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs ? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

To R.Whitfield:
Thanks for the compliment,but I'm just an old hand-cranker,not an inspiration.As to your idea:GO FOR IT!there arn't very many folks left that know how to sharpen a drill or tool,and sending them out is cost prohibitive even for the giant companies.As a matter of fact,I'll be trying that out in my neck of the woods,and seeing if there is a market for sharpening restaraunt knives and handsaws(yep,good carpenters still use them).
To paraprhase T.R.,it' the man that at least TRYS that is the most to be admired.

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Political Atheist in Arlington, Texas

65 months ago

I wish I knew what line of work to go in to, because working in machine shop's has not been a very full filling career. I have about 30 years experience. These years have brought major disappointments from being laid off a few times. I've had to go to work in places you wouldn't want to see someone you cared about work at. When I look back I don't know how I did it. My last job was nepotism. cronyism and favoritism on steroids. I was laid off 2 weeks ago. I guess I'm to blame because I just got to where I could no longer suck enough ass to keep the job. I guess I've come to the point where I hate what I do, I can barely tolerate most of the people I've meet in the trade, and the idea of having to go to work in a Hot, no Air Conditioning, Texas machine shop full of Bush loving, Faux News watching, Libral hating Mercan red necks sickens me....

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larry averett in Springville, Utah

65 months ago

Sounds to me like job shops, always bid low, never have the right tooling, and the job took to long. I've been a machinist for over forty years, and I've seen a lot of changes, tool steel to carbide and etc. I have worked a foundrys to a steel mill. Worked on nuke power plants, subs, gold mines, jets, cut the o rings for the first redesigned space shuttles motors and I am now machining gears for jet engines. I love machining, I'm always learning, some of the best people I know, friends, I've met while machining at different places. Sure I've spent short stays at the type of places you mentioned, and worked for boss' son's, but the thing is you don't have to stay. One of the nice things is not everyone can do it, though some think its easy. I told a women once I was a machinist, Oh, she said, your one of those people that have to be perfect all the time.

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N.L. Byiers in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

Amen to that ,Larry!The biggest thing is to love the fact that you are in the most facinating,complex,demanding,and pure skill trade there is in the world. We don't practice,we do!By the way,you got the shuttle,I got the first repair kit for the Hubble.
N.L.

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R. Whitfield in Chicago, Illinois

65 months ago

Space Shuttle work ! WWOOOOWW !
Hubble Space Telescope ! WWOOOOWW !

I've done some work on the cruise missles and other stuff for the military that we weren't supposed to know what it went into.
What separates man from the animals is our ability to use toools. I may be egotistical; but doesn't this make us the leite of our species.

I like what I do for a living. If I won the billion dollar lottery tomoroow i would move into a great big mansion: and still have a small machine shop out back where I could play. i'm in the 2nd half of a century in age and this is what I do. I'm upgrading my skills (developing,.. like in chess) and am waiting this depression out (yes ! the "D" word.).

God Bless !

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N.L. Byiers in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

And there is the bloody point!Take the time now to improve the skills you have,you will need them.The extra complex job that the cnc system can't handle,the absolute first one of anything that has to be searched out and refined by the individual machinist;these are the core of what we do as handcrankers.Shoot,I just got done about 2:00 am est fixing a Remington revolving rifle,and when I deliver it the guy won't be able to tell which parts are replacments unless I show him where the microstamps are.

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Political Atheist in Arlington, Texas

65 months ago

After what D.C. and Wall Street have done to this country I don't see a very bright future for any working people.

www.google.com/search?q=the+obama+deception&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS294US294&aq=t

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Rich Kime in Waterloo, Iowa

55 months ago

I am located in Waterloo, Iowa. We have tons of machinist jobs in Iowa. The company I work for has 5 openings right now and we cant find anyone to fill them. Most of the time the "machinist" we interview can only punch buttons. We need true machinist. Please email me at rkime@pemltd.com if you are looking for a job!

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bobby anderson in Tacoma, Washington

51 months ago

Rich Kime in Waterloo, Iowa said: I am located in Waterloo, Iowa. We have tons of machinist jobs in Iowa. The company I work for has 5 openings right now and we cant find anyone to fill them. Most of the time the "machinist" we interview can only punch buttons. We need true machinist. Please email me at rkime@pemltd.com if you are looking for a job!

I have a couple questions... 1. is the demand still up for manual machinists/ tool makers there in Iowa?? 2.what is the cost of living like there vs salary for our field? 3.Is there affordable housing (rentals)? I live in Washington and have for most of my life, I have been machining for over 30 yrs and from the looks of things in this state we are done! I have been on unemployment for a year and 1/2 (1st year I did get some shared work) We are at the point that we are seriously considering relocation! The ONLY concern I have is the pay, from what I have seen...I will just say it didnt look good. Please do get back with me at bobbyandlorrie@comcast.net Bobby Anderson

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smith in Brooklet, Georgia

51 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

fluor.com

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bobby in Tacoma, Washington

51 months ago

well, they are NOT in Washington state!! but please I wish someone would post that there ARE jobs somewhere!

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Renegade in Kimball, Minnesota

51 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

Working for a big company and hope to have a job for life went out with JIT, Just in time. Short runs. Manual machinist, If they on a lathe, mill, welder, bandsaw and few odds and ends, can on there own make so good money, repairing parts. When times are tough people tend to fix and with the high cost of parts, aint hard to braze some kids broken bike, and make a few bucks. Well in the bigger cities might be harder but in the country and with farmers, lots of work if you want it.

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deanna in West Des Moines, Iowa

42 months ago

jan hartlieb in Elmhurst, Illinois said: where are the jobs?

we have job openings in des moines, ia
please contact me

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deanna in West Des Moines, Iowa

42 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

we have job openings in des moines, ia
please contact me

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DS in Columbus, Ohio

40 months ago

Columbus Machine Works is a small, machine shop in Columbus, Ohio with both a CNC department and manual machine shop. We have always had a demand for the services offered in our manual shop.

We have difficulty finding skilled manual machinists with experience working in a job shop. The perfect candidate will be able to change gears quickly. You can be repairing a local farmer's tractor in the morning and in the afternoon, you'll be making high tolerance critical parts.

CNC machinists seem to be a dime a dozen.... we have been trying to fill a manual job shop machinist position since February 2011. We're resorting to working with staffing agencies who have greater resources and databases to search from. If you're interested, please contact us.

www.columbusmachine.com

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andy in Chicago, Illinois

32 months ago

For what the companies can bid out for manual machined parts, it's very difficult to pay a dignified wage anymore. The skills are difficult to master, and the pay just doesn't match unfortunately.

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micky62172 in Patchogue, New York

32 months ago

Well said Andy. Machining parts, just like many other processes, has taken the human element out of the equation. Printing, for example, requires no traditional printer anymore. Modern cars use computers to tell a mechanic, now called a technician, where the problem lies. Sadly, highly skilled humans are now dinosaurs in more and more fields that once required hands on talent and knowledge.

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Snydly in Beltsville, Maryland

32 months ago

Ken Ufheil in Plano, Texas said: Looks like I'll be doing the same at age 46. Fortunately for me , since I'm deaf, the State will cover my tuition and books. I recommend any machinist or novice in Tx to look into the AAS and Certificate programs at TSTC Waco. I seem to be leaning towards that, even though I may have to sell my home, my cherished Hudson Hornet and other toys to start over again, at least to pay R& B , food, etc while going to school full time.
Manual machining is a dying trade. You'd best be also learning CAD, CAM, like Solidworks, Gibbs CAM, Espirit, etc. I could also suggest learning Wire EDM, Sinker EDM. You can easily see what employers are looking for by reading job descriptions on sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, etc. Personally I find Monster easier and less annoying than CareerBuilder. We need a kind of support group. It's hard not to let the negativity and depression get to us at times, been there, done that. Kenneth

PS: I'm Chicago born and raised, ended up in Tx 36 years ago. I think there's more manufacturing jobs up north than down here, but I may be wrong.

I'm having to go the CNC route also at age 65, I've been a machinist for 51 years. Fortunately I have a Tinker Toy shop (with some VERY old Heavy Iron, one of witch is an 1892 Pratt & Whitney 12" traversing head shaper) and a paid for house so I am not in dire straights. Best of Luck to all who still want to study these skilled trades. John.

PS: I am building a 1 1/2" Scale Steam Locomotive while in search of work to keep from going to crazy.

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josealappatt@yahoo.com in Nuneaton, United Kingdom

32 months ago

I AM aexperience machinist looking job

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DS in Columbus, Ohio

31 months ago

@josealappatt ~

Our shop supervisor is a manual machinist from England. If you lived here, you might be working for us! We have had an extrememly difficult time locating skilled manual machinists.

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d&s machine in Frankfort, Kentucky

29 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

I have been a machinist for 29 years,and just started my own shop with manual equipment no overhead shop is in building on my property ,Im doing about 2 grand a week so far but Im doing jobs for shops and people Ive known .I do know that nafta almost killed this area .IBM left,texas instrument,left forklift co etc etc etc my grandfather worked for armco steel for 35 years it is now owned by the japanese co ,machine shops and manufacturing built this country remember that whan u vote

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Steve in Agoura Hills, California

28 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

If you truly are a skilled manual machinist, you have nothing to worry about. I have been in the trade for 35 years and have never been short of work. The kids going to cnc classes at community colleges are just operators. They do not know how to set up jobs, put through holes for dowel pins, etc. My last job was repairing fixtures destroyed by unskilled machinists- a good example is anyone putting an endmill in a drill chuck (which I see all of the time), should be taught the right way- they just think they know everything and won't listen-

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Ryan Thomas in Houston, Texas

28 months ago

Looking for manual machinists for hollow spindle lathes. Completing taper threads, API threading and Acme and Stub Acme Threads for drill pipe. Job is in Houston, TX and plenty of work to keep you busy. email resumes if interested to rthomas@renteriamfgco.com

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Tony Piwowarczyk in South Elgin, Illinois

25 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

Two places where manual machining positions are alive and well are a) repair job shops, specializing in one-off repair machining to large dimension pieces, and; b) field machining, a.k.a. "portable machining" or "outside machining" or "in situ machining." Our firm does both large dimension shop repair manual machining and field machining. Below are links to our jobs page, our portable machining blog, and an archive of our portable machining newsletters.

www.fieldsystems.com/machinist-jobs/
www.fieldsystems.com/blog-1/
www.fieldsystems.com/field-machining-newsletters/

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America in Recovery non-profit in Houston, Texas

20 months ago

Just ran across these posts....If any of you 50-somethings are still out there looking for work as a manual machinist, I know of at least one manufacturing company here that still uses and HIRES manual machinsts. And in case you haven't heard, with an average annual wage in 2011 of $59,838, Houston is in first place in the nation. What puts Houston at the top of the list is our low cost of living, which includes such things as consumer prices and services, utilities and transportation costs and, most importantly, housing prices. The ratio of the median home price to median annual household income in Houston is an incredibly low 2.9, Adjusted for cost of living, the average Houston wage of $59,838 is worth $66,933, tops in the country!

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Jake G. in Columbia, Missouri

19 months ago

I dont agree with anything being said. I live in southwest missouri and there are about 20 major machine shops in my area. i just graduated high school and completed a machining tech course. I have been out of school for 12 hours and i already have 4 jobs basically falling in my lap. around here the average age for a machinist is like 55 so they need young kids that are willing to learn and take up the jobs so that when the older guys retire they pass their knowledge on instead of just walking out the door with it. the only industry around my area thats hurting is welding because everybody learns how to do it on the farm and wants to do it for a living. but if you can operate a lathe or a mill esp. CNC you are set for life.

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Human Resources in Tomball, Texas

8 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most manual machinist opportunities?

Hahn & Clay has numerous job openings for Manual Machinists at journeyman level or 1st class! We have been desperately looking for qualified individuals and becoming increasingly difficult. But if you or someone out there is interested, please come by 5100 Clinton Drive in Houston to apply. Zip code is 77020. Please, need good quality manual machinists urgently. Thank you!

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kdlwench in Pekin, Illinois

5 months ago

jan hartlieb in Elmhurst, Illinois said: where are the jobs?

Right here in Pekin Illinois. We can not find true manual machinist. Everyone who applies for the job is a CNC operator. Please send any machinist my way

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