Without a doubt, the pandemic has been hard for jobseekers. Just a quick look at the news is enough to see how dire the situation is. Millions are out of jobs. There’s uncertainty about how well the economy will pick up in the foreseeable future.
But this reporting mostly shows you what’s happening at the national level. Jobs are scarce at the moment, yes, but is that the case across all industries?
Our team at Surehand got down to answering this question, focusing specifically on job opportunities for welders.
We know that most welders need to get their job done on-site, save for the supervisors and managers who can work from offices. So with a new rise in coronavirus cases, and the accompanying restrictions that will soon follow, we wanted to know if companies were looking for welders, and if so, where specifically.
It turns out that companies are hiring welders during the pandemic. Our research revealed that welders are still in high demand across the country in the construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding, and aerospace industries.
Thanks to the federal government’s recognition of construction and welding companies as essential services, work has continued. Dozens of new jobs are being advertised each week for a variety of positions, so no matter what your welding specialty may be, there are opportunities to be found.
If you’re a welder looking for a job, we’ve got you covered. Our findings below will help you better understand the current state of the welding industry and what’s next in store. We’ve rounded up some of the locations that are hiring welders right now plus overviews of the industries that are actively hiring.
COVID-19 has definitely slowed the welding industry down, but not to the point that it’s come to a standstill.
According to a recent report titled “Forming & Fabrication Job Shop Consumption Report 2nd Quarter 2020” (available for free download on their store) published by The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, several of the companies surveyed said they were operating well under capacity.
50% of respondents said this was because of a decrease in new orders. A quarter of companies reported higher commodity prices as a factor in production slowdown.
But other companies have experienced stable, even positive growth. 45% of companies indicated that operations were stable and 21% even said they were seeing positive trends in their output capacity. New orders have increased for 18% of companies, which is a hopeful sign that the industry continues to be important for the country’s growth.
The most interesting insight in the report, however, was the finding that almost 60% of companies reported stable employee numbers between April and July, 2020. And of the respondents, about 14% were adding more jobs. Only 27% indicated that they were reducing employee numbers.
It goes to show that industries where welders work have continued to operate, and hire, despite the circumstances.
So what are some of the industries looking for welders during the pandemic? Our research shows that the construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and aerospace industries need welders right now.
As the country’s infrastructure reaches critical age, construction industry leaders and local governments are calling for a major rehabilitation. From roads to bridges to major pipelines, repair and rebuild works are required to keep them in service.
Bridges, in particular, need to be fixed fast. Surveys have found that about 9% of bridges in America are structurally deficient and pose a public health risk.
In 2007, the I-35W Bridge collapsed over the Mississippi River, serving as a wake up call to many of the country’s crumbling infrastructure. Legislators and experts ramped up efforts to repair the old infrastructure after the incident. Estimates suggest that it would take until 2050 to repair or replace the more than 55,000 structurally deficient bridges in the country.
Another major project involves the Pensacola Bay Bridge, which was hit by a barge during Hurricane Sally last month; there are six months’ worth of repairs that need to be done on that nearly new bridge. As hurricane season rages on, jobs like these will become more and more frequent.
With this demand, welders are needed as essential construction workers to keep these construction projects going. And it’s not just in the repair and maintenance fields.
The government has prioritised the continuation of renewable energy infrastructure, liquid fuels, and building projects during the pandemic. This soccer stadium in Cincinnati, for example, sees about 450 workers showing up everyday to get the structure completed by spring 2021.
Construction is going ahead with or without the pandemic. Give this industry a try if you’re looking for big projects to work on.
Demand for ships has, quite interestingly, remained constant throughout the pandemic. The initial restrictions set by the government to curb the coronavirus caused some shipyards to close to adjust to CDC guidelines.
But the impact from the pandemic was fortunately quite low and now, many of the country’s shipyards have reopened and remain in operation with essential business status.
Towboats, tugs, barges, and several other vessels are very much still in demand. Construction has continued for boats under contract and completed vessels are being delivered to both military and commercial customers on the Great Lakes and both coasts.
The Navy has also jumped in to award several major shipbuilding contracts early to keep workers and shipyards in business. From small suppliers to well-known shipbuilders, everyone is being supported to continue producing what the Navy calls ‘critical national infrastructure’.
It’s an impressive wide-ranging effort to keep the defense industry and its suppliers supportive of each other in tough times. Welders are in demand to fuse ship parts together and also conduct refit and repair works on older vessels.
Just like the construction industry, the manufacturing industry has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. There’s been a surge in demand for household items as well as electronics, and some factories have switched to a 24/7 schedule to keep up with consumer demand.
We’ve also seen companies that manufacture construction machinery, consumer technology, and cleaning equipment weather the storm quite well due to strong in-country demand for their products. These sectors have seen up to a 30% surge in demand.
But the growth in manufacturing is not strong in all subsectors. With everyone staying at home to protect themselves, vehicle sales have fluctuated and the automotive manufacturing sector has experienced a slump. It’s picking up again but experts worry that a resurgence of COVID-19 will cause sales to drop as people become afraid to go outside.
There are uncertainties of course, but welders are needed now more than ever to keep the machinery operational. It’s reported that the welder job market is expected to grow by 4-6% over the next decade; and since nearly 70% of welding jobs are found in manufacturing, we anticipate good job opportunities in this industry.
Aerospace, really? At a time when thousands of planes are grounded and airlines are in dire need of government aid, how could there be jobs in aerospace?
Well, while the commercial airline industry slowed to a near halt due to travel restrictions, production has remained steady on defense and space projects. Companies working on these projects saw their budgets allocated prior to the pandemic. They’re ‘safe’ to continue operating for the next two years at least.
Take SpaceX for example, who are currently on a hiring surge for highly-skilled welders to build its Starship spacecraft, a 100-person spaceship designed to transport people to the moon and Mars. It’s a visionary goal, and Elon Musk wants to get it built and flying on operational missions by 2021.
Other companies involved in the national space economy are doing quite well too. Companies in Colorado, which hosts the nation’s second largest aerospace industry, are experiencing an increase in investments and projects on everything from satellites to small experimental spacecraft.
Welders are in demand to help construct spacecraft. If you’re looking to push yourself to the final frontier, this could be the industry for you.
Several states across the country are hiring welders right now. From large corporations to small businesses, welders are being recruited to perform essential services.
Some of the locations that are hiring are:
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