Low on workers, manufacturers recruit their officers for the factory floor


Wendy Marcus was in the middle of a recent meeting with senior leaders at Newell Brands Inc. when word came that she needed to leave immediately.

The Newell-owned factory making Yankee candles was once again low on workers, and the plant’s Miss Marcus, an R&D manager, needed to help pack the famous scented NikeNack into a gift basket on the assembly line.

“I told them, I have to work overtime shifts, ‘and they just said, they are fine, thank you and move on,'” Ms. Marcus recalled.

American manufacturers have gotten better at keeping their factory floors safe and from the Kovid-19 transition to their workspaces. Despite the progress, they are still struggling to find enough people to plant their plants. Shortages of labor are causing supply chains to collapse and delivery of everything from car parts to candles is delayed.

Amidst the strange effects of Kovid-19: Despite high unemployment levels, many employers are having trouble hiring enough workers. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% in December. Weekly initial claims for unemployed benefits from state programs, a marker of layoffs, have also remained stable at around 790,000. It is sharply below the peak of around 7 million in March, but is still nearly four times the average of the pre-pandemic.

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