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Running out of Machinists

david n

Diamond
Joined
Apr 13, 2007
Location
Pillager, MN
Surely don't want the life of living off one, less it is a truck-bodied mobile foodery, and even then..

Not me.......................I hate the public.............used to be a people person, then people ruined it for me...........................plus runin' a hotdog cart might be tough 'round my neck of the woods..............October 21 and we got 6" of the white stuff and 6-9" more in the next few days.....................UGH!

I blame it solely on Ox..........................Think snow, eh? I thinkin of runnin over to oHIo to kick him in the pants.....................:toetap:
 

Jashley73

Titanium
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Location
Louisville, KY
Bob, how old are you if you dont mind me asking? I am 36, and the way things are going I will never own a home of my own or be able to raise a family unless I think drastically outside of the box. There are only so many working hours available, and if you are smart enough to do the math, it becomes apparant that anybody living under (X) amount of income is nothing more than a wage slave. I remember hearing from oldtimers who lived up in Michigan when the manufacturing industry was thriving there. They spoke about how a man could own a home, a boat, two vehicles, and a wife at home who raises the children, all from a trades job.

<...snip...>

So yah, if you've had yours, maybe thats why you think the way you do. There is no "drop from 70 per hour gold plated to 11.50 and small beenies" for those who are under the age of 40. This is how its always been for us. My whole career has been chasing a much faster rate of inflation. For many of us,25 - 30 is a miracle, and quite frankly, for less, I'd rather live in a van down by the river.

Fair point that I've mentioned a lot on PM regarding the issue of machinist/skilled trades pay, and even in this thread. Machinist's wages in particular have not kept pace with inflation. I am very fortunate to be paid what I am for this industry. I believe that I'm in the 'exception' category for what a machinist could expect to earn. Want more? Time to move into something else. Sales, entrepreneurship, robots, something else. But making chips? Probably maxed out. (And don't for a second think that I don't realize that, and count my blessings daily...)

The key to what you posted there - in the past, a tradesperson could earn a GOOD living for his family, on one income. Extremely unlikely today. Louisville used to be considered below the national average for cost of living. I'm not sure if that's the case any more. Housing + medical insurance costs have exploded recently. Those two eat up a far bigger chunk than in years past - far more inflated than the rise in wages for machinists anyway.



Before we allowed low cost imports from Japan, then China to start offshoring machining/manufacturing business, it was much easier for the skilled trade person to have the wages & life that you described above.

Again - I hate to say it - And I'm sure it'll trigger more Trump/anti-Trump debate - which I'm hoping to avoid ----- But, we have to protect our national manufacturing industry from being undercut by cheap foreign imports. Regardless of how the chicken & egg game was played out, there's a pretty clear correlation between the importing of Japanese then Chinese cheap manufacturing goods, and the demise of machinist/manufacturing wages.



Ok - That's enough for now. I'll step down off the soapbox (For now.)







Pretty sure you have no clue how to figure out what any given position of employment is worth.
Here is a hint: the cost of your preferred place of dwelling, or its locale, has jack-shit to do with it.

I'm not saying you are wrong that the trades are not tilted, or aligned, to the actual intelligence/experience required to perform.
But, for you to just pipe up and tell motion he has no idea what his position is worth because it cost X to live in Y? Nope, it don't work that way.
It's like selling a truck. It is only worth what someone is willing to pay.


Actually wheelie, his post is pretty spot-on in the case of the original post - finding a skilled, qualified machinist in the Vancouver, WA/ Seattle, OR area.

I performed that little exercise earlier in the thread. Is the $30-ish/hour position that Motion was discussing in the OP enough for a person/family of 4 to buy a modest house in the area, move in and make a comfortable living?

Sure as hell not for me...

Housing in the area is way too expensive for that kind of job. I make more here in Louisville, with cheaper housing. Not living a lavish lifestyle by any means.

Take a pay cut to move across the country, to live farther away from work? No thanks.




Now - I'm happy to admit that it's mostly an academic argument - with respect to motion's specific case in this thread. It sounds like motion made the necessary adjustments, and found a few qualified guys to work for him.

That's not to say however that above argument(s) are incorrect. If there's a shortage of available workers for the area, pay vs. cost of living in the area is a very big consideration as to the "Why" of the problem...
 

thermite

Diamond
Not me.......................I hate the public.............used to be a people person, then people ruined it for me...........................plus runin' a hotdog cart might be tough 'round my neck of the woods..............October 21 and we got 6" of the white stuff and 6-9" more in the next few days.....................UGH!

I blame it solely on Ox..........................Think snow, eh? I thinkin of runnin over to oHIo to kick him in the pants.....................:toetap:

Anybody as can single-hand-haul a classical Ulan Bator wheeled "gar" as might otherwise want 20-odd sturdy Mongol ponies in harness as calls hisself "Ox" might not be yer bestest, firstest, safest choice of a target fer kicking?

I be happier to utilize his winter-wonderland OCD snowmobile-track-scarred ass as "bait".

So long as his fetish is greedy enuf to keep the dam' snow North of the Mason-Dixon line for HIS use?

I call it good!

You, on the other hand, could cause folk to raise an eyerow in wonder if you told them you had to slog nine miles through a raging blizzard just to get to Hell for a cup of hot coffee after a cold night spent Pillaging.

:D
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
we have to protect our national manufacturing industry from being undercut by cheap foreign imports. Regardless of how the chicken & egg game was played out, there's a pretty clear correlation between the importing of Japanese then Chinese cheap manufacturing goods, and the demise of machinist/manufacturing wages.
Yes, exactly, that would work fine. However, you are going to have to convince the vast majority of Americans (most are not machinists) to pay a lot more for everything just to support a tiny minority of people in the lifestyle to which they aspire.

Possibly we should quit wasting effort on the fantasy that this will happen.

As a second point, might I mention that almost all the machines which the grossly underpaid machinists run in the US are cheap imports ? When you had the chance to buy Amurrican, you didn't.

You know that story about "do as I say, not as I do" ? The mama crab was bitching at her baby crabs for walking crooked, so they answered "Show us how, mom !"

Ancient Buddhist principle : you get what you deserve.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Fair point that I've mentioned a lot on PM regarding the issue of machinist/skilled trades pay, and even in this thread. Machinist's wages in particular have not kept pace with inflation. I am very fortunate to be paid what I am for this industry. I believe that I'm in the 'exception' category for what a machinist could expect to earn. Want more? Time to move into something else. Sales, entrepreneurship, robots, something else. But making chips? Probably maxed out. (And don't for a second think that I don't realize that, and count my blessings daily...)

The key to what you posted there - in the past, a tradesperson could earn a GOOD living for his family, on one income. Extremely unlikely today. Louisville used to be considered below the national average for cost of living. I'm not sure if that's the case any more. Housing + medical insurance costs have exploded recently. Those two eat up a far bigger chunk than in years past - far more inflated than the rise in wages for machinists anyway.



Before we allowed low cost imports from Japan, then China to start offshoring machining/manufacturing business, it was much easier for the skilled trade person to have the wages & life that you described above.

Again - I hate to say it - And I'm sure it'll trigger more Trump/anti-Trump debate - which I'm hoping to avoid ----- But, we have to protect our national manufacturing industry from being undercut by cheap foreign imports. Regardless of how the chicken & egg game was played out, there's a pretty clear correlation between the importing of Japanese then Chinese cheap manufacturing goods, and the demise of machinist/manufacturing wages.



Ok - That's enough for now. I'll step down off the soapbox (For now.)










Actually wheelie, his post is pretty spot-on in the case of the original post - finding a skilled, qualified machinist in the Vancouver, WA/ Seattle, OR area.

I performed that little exercise earlier in the thread. Is the $30-ish/hour position that Motion was discussing in the OP enough for a person/family of 4 to buy a modest house in the area, move in and make a comfortable living?

Sure as hell not for me...

Housing in the area is way too expensive for that kind of job. I make more here in Louisville, with cheaper housing. Not living a lavish lifestyle by any means.

Take a pay cut to move across the country, to live farther away from work? No thanks.




Now - I'm happy to admit that it's mostly an academic argument - with respect to motion's specific case in this thread. It sounds like motion made the necessary adjustments, and found a few qualified guys to work for him.

That's not to say however that above argument(s) are incorrect. If there's a shortage of available workers for the area, pay vs. cost of living in the area is a very big consideration as to the "Why" of the problem...


I will agree with this post.

In the case of Motion, yes - he will need to pay a living wage for the area in which he has his shop.
I'm guessing that "cost of living" was not paramount in his decission as to where to hang his shingle, and now he is where he is, so the associated costs go with that.


In the case of the other guy who wants a job dooing what he wants to doo, where he wants to doo it - is on the other end of the equazsion.
Apparently there is low demand, with high overhead.

If the need is local, then the job will have to pay local requirements, but if the need is state, nation, or global, then the lower cost overhead will win.


------------

I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
 

wheelieking71

Diamond
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Actually wheelie, his post is pretty spot-on in the case of the original post - finding a skilled, qualified machinist in the Vancouver, WA/ Seattle, OR area.

I get that. But, my point is spot on as well. Let me over-simplify it: you can not use money that you do not have for payroll.
It is that simple. So, you hire some expensive dude that sucks all your profits up getting shit out the door.
You have two choices: raise your rates to cover it, or take money out of your own pocket to cover it.
If you raise rates, chances are you will loose work, which leaves YOU with no money.
If you take it out of your own pocket, again YOU are left with no money.

If I had to pay a guy $35/hr? I might as well liquidate tomorrow. I could make more working for somebody else (tempting sometimes!)
I can not base anything off what somebodies mortgage is.

Now, this is MY problem. Not, a potential hires. I'm not saying diezel (or anybody) should work for less than their desired wage. That was not my point at all.

My point is, none of us have sat down with motion and gone over his books. Yes, local will have an impact. I get that. But, it can not dictate.
 

Diezel

Aluminum
Joined
May 30, 2014
Location
Cypress
I get that. But, my point is spot on as well. Let me over-simplify it: you can not use money that you do not have for payroll.
It is that simple. So, you hire some expensive dude that sucks all your profits up getting shit out the door.
You have two choices: raise your rates to cover it, or take money out of your own pocket to cover it.
If you raise rates, chances are you will loose work, which leaves YOU with no money.
If you take it out of your own pocket, again YOU are left with no money.

If I had to pay a guy $35/hr? I might as well liquidate tomorrow. I could make more working for somebody else (tempting sometimes!)
I can not base anything off what somebodies mortgage is.

Now, this is MY problem. Not, a potential hires. I'm not saying diezel (or anybody) should work for less than their desired wage. That was not my point at all.

My point is, none of us have sat down with motion and gone over his books. Yes, local will have an impact. I get that. But, it can not dictate.

If he can't compete in the workforce, he must adjust to make himself competitive.
The point being made here is he has now lost 2 of his better hands to local shops who pay better, and is looking at replacing his top machinist.
Obviously you can't pay what you don't have, but if you need a top grade machinist/programmer/toolmaker.. i'm not even looking your way unless you're at at least $35 an hour. I've interviewed with people and they ask me "what will it take to bring you in?".. when I tell them and they respond with "not even my top paid 5 axis guy gets paid that", I walk out. I've done this plenty of times, yet never been without a job for longer than a week. I get that you're looking at it from an owner perspective. But from my perspective, if you can't afford me you can't have me. Plain and simple. There are plenty of other people willing to pay for my skill set, i'm not going to settle because you can't afford it. Also, to answer your previous question... yes I make more than $35 an hour, and last years W2 shows 6 figures, i'm also 31 years old.
 

Mike1974

Diamond
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Location
Tampa area
If he can't compete in the workforce, he must adjust to make himself competitive.
The point being made here is he has now lost 2 of his better hands to local shops who pay better, and is looking at replacing his top machinist.
Obviously you can't pay what you don't have, but if you need a top grade machinist/programmer/toolmaker.. i'm not even looking your way unless you're at at least $35 an hour. I've interviewed with people and they ask me "what will it take to bring you in?".. when I tell them and they respond with "not even my top paid 5 axis guy gets paid that", I walk out. I've done this plenty of times, yet never been without a job for longer than a week. I get that you're looking at it from an owner perspective. But from my perspective, if you can't afford me you can't have me. Plain and simple. There are plenty of other people willing to pay for my skill set, i'm not going to settle because you can't afford it. Also, to answer your previous question... yes I make more than $35 an hour, and last years W2 shows 6 figures, i'm also 31 years old.

I don't know what state you are in, but like it or not it's going to affect the wages and the degree of living style you enjoy.

I know it's Zillow, but just a quick comparison.

307 Temporary Redirect

307 Temporary Redirect
 

Jashley73

Titanium
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Location
Louisville, KY
Yes, exactly, that would work fine. However, you are going to have to convince the vast majority of Americans (most are not machinists) to pay a lot more for everything just to support a tiny minority of people in the lifestyle to which they aspire.

Possibly we should quit wasting effort on the fantasy that this will happen.

As a second point, might I mention that almost all the machines which the grossly underpaid machinists run in the US are cheap imports ? When you had the chance to buy Amurrican, you didn't.

You know that story about "do as I say, not as I do" ? The mama crab was bitching at her baby crabs for walking crooked, so they answered "Show us how, mom !"

Ancient Buddhist principle : you get what you deserve.

In part, yes, you are correct.

However, most won't balk at $800+ for a cell phone.

Or $100+ for a pair of not-even-running-just-has-to-look-good tennis shoes.

Or $65+ for jeans.

Or $50+ for not-even-made-in-the-usa workpants or branded sweatshirts.

Or $400+ for a watch.

Or $40+ for a printed T-shirt.





The consumer demand for higher-than-bottom-of-the-barrel-priced items within the USA is there, based on perception. Perception at this point, being "does it/will it make me look cool?"

All we have to do is inform that perception with ---

"Yeah those shoes look cool. I also know that you're for "social justice"/"eco-friendly"/whatever the trend of the week is... Did you know that those cool shoes are made with slave labor, the by-product which is then dumped into a river thereby polluting the hell out of the environment, and then stuck on a container ship which burns 100,000 gallons of fuel-oil to transport them over here?

You can correct all that by buying THIS other cool looking shoe, which is made here in the USA..."




I mentioned earlier that my wife & I are now on a personal campaign to seek out & buy made-in-USA items. I wasn't joking.

Last purchase was for some sewn-in-New York state workout clothing. $25 for a pair of workout shorts, and $30 for a sports bra is competitive with even made in PRC retail items. (It should go without saying but I must leave no room for doubt - but the shorts & sports bra are for my much more attractive other half - not me.) :D



I might also add that we have (4) made-in-my-home-state-of-Kentucky lathes from Mazak here in our shop as well. As much as I've complained about them in the past, that factory pumps out a lot of iron.



I know you hate the United States. Fine. To each his own. Do not piss in my pot however for wanting to see my home country improve through domestic made manufactured products.


Without apology, thank you. That is all.
 

Diezel

Aluminum
Joined
May 30, 2014
Location
Cypress
I don't know what state you are in, but like it or not it's going to affect the wages and the degree of living style you enjoy.

I know it's Zillow, but just a quick comparison.

307 Temporary Redirect

307 Temporary Redirect

Okay, go look at jobs in northern Arizona and tell me if you find anything over $25 an hour. Then look in Orange County california and lmk if you don’t find anything in the $40-$50 an hr range bud.

Then, find me a house in OC that i can buy on $35 an hour, I'm single with kids... $35 an hour will open me up to roughly 285k that i can spend on a house via a loan.
This is the problem with small business owners, it's a "how little can i pay my guys so i can make more profits" rather than a "can i afford to make sure my guys are taken care of and can live comfortable"

I get that our problems are not your problems, but never forget that when you offer someone a job.. and they take it.. they are agreeing to work for you via a contract. I don't have to agree to a damn thing i don't want to, nor do i have to show up to work for you if i don't want to. Your job is to keep me happy enough to show up and make you money. I always do my part and make sure im making the company money (i mostly do r&d but im fast af, i can design (or rev up parts), program, set up and run 5+ different parts, test fit and make adjustments for FF&F in an 8 hour shift and keep 4 machines going if i have to)
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Okay, go look at jobs in northern Arizona and tell me if you find anything over $25 an hour. Then look in Orange County california and lmk if you don’t find anything in the $40-$50 an hr range bud.


Your point is valid, but you apparently have a hard time seeing the other side as well?

If all you are interested in is hitting a highest gross income, then by all means, go to where the cost of living is the highest, and fetch a job that is in high demand there.

On the other side, you could git that same job in BFE Arkansas and doo just as well at half the rate.

Manufacturing jobs as a whole have not been in high rent districts for a few decades at least by now, as those that are cannot compete.

The better plan is to take that high cost job on the coast, bank all you can and keep an eye on property values, and then - retire to BFE Ark where you can live like a king off of what you sold your house for, and you also will be receiving the highest possible retirement cheques. (whether that be state employee, SS, or other)


---------------------

I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
 

wheelieking71

Diamond
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Okay, go look at jobs in northern Arizona and tell me if you find anything over $25 an hour. Then look in Orange County california and lmk if you don’t find anything in the $40-$50 an hr range bud.

Right here you bring up another excellent variable: market segment! Which has far more effect on (machinist) wages than local.

You and I do two different things, even though we are both "machinists". The only way for me to make money doing what I do, is do it the way I am doing it.
I have done very little aerospace (high level machinist stuff). What little I did do was very stressful. I have done a ton of semi-conductor (mid level machinist stuff).
And, more aluminum widget stuff than you can fathom. All worth varying amounts of compensation for varied reasons. Local being very low on the factoring pole.
 

Booze Daily

Titanium
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Location
Ohio
Last purchase was for some sewn-in-New York state workout clothing. $25 for a pair of workout shorts, and $30 for a sports bra is competitive with even made in PRC retail items. (It should go without saying but I must leave no room for doubt - but the shorts & sports bra are for my much more attractive other half - not me.) :D

Like these?

zz.jpg
 

Diezel

Aluminum
Joined
May 30, 2014
Location
Cypress
Right here you bring up another excellent variable: market segment! Which has far more effect on (machinist) wages than local.

You and I do two different things, even though we are both "machinists". The only way for me to make money doing what I do, is do it the way I am doing it.
I have done very little aerospace (high level machinist stuff). What little I did do was very stressful. I have done a ton of semi-conductor (mid level machinist stuff).
And, more aluminum widget stuff than you can fathom. All worth varying amounts of compensation for varied reasons. Local being very low on the factoring pole.

The problem with market segment is it still changes with locale, for instance.. i've done a TON of work for WL Gore and machine solutions in flagstaff. Medical shit, catheter molds, custom manufacturing equipment for catheters... stints etc.. and what they paid for this comes nowhere close to what some of the top medical companies in orange county would pay. Northern arizona doesnt have a ton of machine shops, therefore machinists are not in demand and thus paid less(they have places like Ruger who pay $12 an hour to load and unload machines 70 hrs a week). So the big medical companies around the area don't pay nearly as much as other companies in the same segment strictly due to locale.

I've been a part of so many industries, from making tiny gun parts, medical equipment, lock and key, robotic NDT scanners, the largest front end loaders in the world to literally machining on NW Nose Cones... i 100% understand that the level of machining changes. But if you want the dude who's done and seen it all and can make you a shitload of money, you're going to pay for him... and he's going to take his lifestyle into account when he asks for what he wants.
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
Things have changed for sure,
Flint Michigan was once the highest per capital wages in all the USA and all based on factory workers and machinists.
Leaders came in from around the world to see how it was done. "A model city" for the new world at the time.
Then a gradual decrease to be followed by a a few atomic bombs.
A few miles south is "automation alley" that a huge boom and bust also but faster cycle.
Hell yes I'd love to be able to pay 50-60 per hour or a start wage of 30. Problem is I'd go under and there would be no jobs for anyone.

100% with the "not fair wages now" but it is what it is.
Nobody forces anyone to work in this field, you can always change your direction if the wages offered or paid do not suit you.
Bob
 

hanermo

Titanium
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Location
barcelona, spain
Diezel said it well.
I´ve also said it multiple times in multiple posts in multiple threads.

"Machinists" need to make about 80k$ gross w. bennies, 100k if they are "top machinists".
It is the job of the shop owner to figure out how to pay that and be well profitable.

Everyone in Germany, 960.000 machinists, has figured it out.
Avg cost per worker 55€ == 65 $ / hr.
Burdened cost, not pay.
And germany makes pretty much the best in everything mechanical from automation to autos to machine tools to cutlery to appliances to everything.

Switzerland, more expensive, is even better.
Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, similar to germany.
Japan is similar.
Very high pay, machinists very much appreciated, very well paid.

The idea that machinists cannot be paid 4000$/month is silly.
A great machinist will produce 10-20.000$ more gross profit per month than a weak machinist.
Obviously, such a machinist can expect a 5000$ gross salary vs a 2000 $ / mo. salary.

A great machinist, like a great coder, can create wealth in the 100k$ range/month for the company.
Such people should be rewarded in the same way.
They typically are, in the new robotics, automation, electric-car, 3d printer (fad), home automation and similar industries.

A great machinist can vastly increase production efficiency and quality via better fixtures, or workflow, in-machine probing, or finishing, or programming, or db integration, many paths.

Machinists need to get paid more. Yes !

But they also need to produce more and better and more consistent and more it-linked.
And the shop owners need to know this and own this and pay for it.

Where shop owners fail to pay to upgrade their strategic capacity -- the resulting losses are their fault.
It is not china (just) that hurts US machinists.

It is (mostly) US shop owners not paying for the skills upgrade and the best skills - leading to a lower-skilled workforce vs Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, etc.
 

Diezel

Aluminum
Joined
May 30, 2014
Location
Cypress
Things have changed for sure,
Flint Michigan was once the highest per capital wages in all the USA and all based on factory workers and machinists.
Leaders came in from around the world to see how it was done. "A model city" for the new world at the time.
Then a gradual decrease to be followed by a a few atomic bombs.
A few miles south is "automation alley" that a huge boom and bust also but faster cycle.
Hell yes I'd love to be able to pay 50-60 per hour or a start wage of 30. Problem is I'd go under and there would be no jobs for anyone.
Bob

The difference being what you base your wages off of... if your affordability column accounts for 1 machinist at one machine at a shop rate of $100 your max pay for profitability is going to be around $30 an hour. Now if you’re paying a high throughput guy who’s keeping multiple spindles turning... I’ve been part of that equation, I’ve seen the pricing on everything I shipped out the door at weeks end, and I had to maintain 3x my wages to be profitable. I get that there are a lot of “machinists” out there who aren’t worth it... but there’s always a way to get your guy if you find him.
 








 
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