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    Default Looking at where wages are heading

    We've been quite busy for some time now. probably time to add one or two new guys. Trying to think what a decent wage would be for an entry level guy.
    I hear an add on the radio for a place that sells shipping supplies. Starting pay for warehouse help is $30/hr.
    I go by McDonalds, sign in the window, starting pay for burger flippers $18/hr.
    Another huge warehouse, starting pay for unskilled help $22/hr

    So how much for good shop help? $40 for an operator, $50 for a decent setup guy? This is insane. There's no way I can pay people that much, not that I wouldn't want to, the numbers don't add up.

    Where are you guys at with all this?

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    You're forgetting a few things, perhaps.
    One, is that you live and operate in a very expensive area of the Country. So, for someone to at least survive, they need to make "around" what others are paying.
    Two, you get what you pay for. You want $12/hr help, make sure you have the CNC repair guy and the materials supplier's phone numbers tattooed on your forearm - you're going to be calling both of them. A lot.

    I'd say to take a look at what the warehouse is paying, and balance somewhere around there, with the spoken words that there is career advancement and this is not another "McJob."

    Long gone are the days of finding really good "Fort Knox" help at $15/hr wages. That went away with $2,000 new cars and $120 a month rents.

    Here in NJ, which is also expensive, as we are just outside of New York City, $30-$40 an hr is not unheard of.

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    Seems to be the same around here. Just had a really good bench guy leave for a forklift job in a beverage warehouse for $23/hr. Can't blame him either, making around 15 on the bench.

    Had a decent, but unmotivated, mill guy leave for a programming job making $28/hr - no previous programming experience. That turned a handful of our perfectly gruntled mill guys into wildly disgruntled mill guys.

    I see a lot of the big box stores in my area are paying between $15 and $20 an hour now, off the drop. To do what, stock shelves? Crazy...hopefully things revert back to the mean before long.

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    Inflation happened. $15 in 1990 is the same as $32 today.

    Problem is around here 20 bucks an hour was seen as good machinist pay back thenwith some making more, now $30 is pretty much where it tops out.

    CPI Inflation Calculator

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    In this part of NC they are building massive warehouses as we are centrally located to a lot of population centers and along transportation corridors. The pay, after 1 year $21 with benefits. Some are higher. The crappy shops pay $12 and are red faced angry its that high. The good ones pay $15-17 maybe a little more. Not much incentive to learn a trade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenton View Post
    Inflation happened. $15 in 1990 is the same as $32 today.

    Problem is around here 20 bucks an hour was seen as good machinist pay back thenwith some making more, now $30 is pretty much where it tops out.

    CPI Inflation Calculator
    Machinist wages and that of other trades have stagnated, they have not kept up with inflation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    We've been quite busy for some time now. probably time to add one or two new guys. Trying to think what a decent wage would be for an entry level guy.
    I hear an add on the radio for a place that sells shipping supplies. Starting pay for warehouse help is $30/hr.
    I go by McDonalds, sign in the window, starting pay for burger flippers $18/hr.
    Another huge warehouse, starting pay for unskilled help $22/hr

    So how much for good shop help? $40 for an operator, $50 for a decent setup guy? This is insane. There's no way I can pay people that much, not that I wouldn't want to, the numbers don't add up.

    Where are you guys at with all this?
    I think those wages are just a temporary spike to get people paid enough more to work than they get in free money. The federal extra $300 a week unemployment ends Sept 6th, even though Biden suggested states keep paying it out of Covid relief funds. I am not sure the size of your workforce. I think I would just try to wait out the storm, any chance you could use a temp agency temporarily or find some retired guys who would work part time? If you pay inflated wages to fill positions and your long term employees find out they are going to want a big bump or you will have a mutiny on your hands. Any chance to off load some work? I am sure plenty shops are hurting because Covid shut down their customers.

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    $15/hr is about 30k/year. It sounds like a lot because I'm old and remember how things used to be. You actually can't live on that in many places, at least not if you want to drive a car, insure and maintain it, eat and pay rent. Most people seem to have expensive cell, data and cable plans these days. Not an essential, but actually it is if you're not an ancient old fart. Then there's health care, if it's not provided, and it often isn't. IMO, any kind of reasonable non-stressful life is probably $25/hr and up, but if you want serious skills, expect to pay much more. If your business model doesn't work with that, don't expect to be in business for the long term.

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    I've seen restaurants around here advertise $30/hr for waitstaff. My take:

    1. Automate as much as you can; work towards long unattended runs, deburr in the machine, etc.
    2. Hire a small number of highly skilled people who can multiply the productivity of that automation, rather than a larger number of base level workers who simply add to it.
    3. Raise your prices in step with inflation.

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    My take on this point in time - is that it is a really bad idea to actually hire anyone right now.
    Maybe if you could get a retired fella, even if you have to pay him, he won't be there long.
    (meaning that you can let him go when things calm back down w/o hurting anyone)

    My concern is all of these places that have and are hiring (because they absolutely HAVE to - I git it) at these ridiculous prices, while competing with the Feds free money, what happens on the other end of this?

    What happens a yr from now when you can find help for a more normal rate again, and you have this clown that is a putz anyhow - and you are paying him 1.5x or more?


    There is plenty of work out there for anyone that has the manpower to get it out the door, but at the same time, is it worth it?
    I'm working under the premise that I will get out everything that I can with what [help] that I have right now. Put in oodles of hours to git through, and make good $ dooing it. Have been adding equipment as well to help facilitate that too.


    Doo you speak Afgan?
    Might be a good option!

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    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    $15/hr is about 30k/year. It sounds like a lot because I'm old and remember how things used to be. You actually can't live on that in many places, at least not if you want to drive a car, insure and maintain it, eat and pay rent. Most people seem to have expensive cell, data and cable plans these days. Not an essential, but actually it is if you're not an ancient old fart. Then there's health care, if it's not provided, and it often isn't. IMO, any kind of reasonable non-stressful life is probably $25/hr and up, but if you want serious skills, expect to pay much more. If your business model doesn't work with that, don't expect to be in business for the long term.
    Health care is the killer, throw that in an inflation calculator and see what you come up with. When I first went out on my own 100% coverage with $10 co-pays for a single 19-44 year old male was $125 a month, all by himself, a la carte not a member of any group. A couple $200, a family of 4+ $300. That was mid 90's. Now that 70/30 crap is quadruple that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post


    Doo you speak Afgan?
    Might be a good option!

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

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    Ox
    I don't think you would want them working around machinery in their traditional dress. I can see the discrimination lawsuits already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CITIZEN F16 View Post
    Health care is the killer, throw that in an inflation calculator and see what you come up with. When I first went out on my own 100% coverage with $10 co-pays for a single 19-44 year old male was $125 a month, all by himself, a la carte not a member of any group. A couple $200, a family of 4+ $300. That was mid 90's. Now that 70/30 crap is quadruple that.
    Ya health insurance sucks now. I have lower end coverage, but it only costs me $70/week sooo.... My daughter was born in 2000. Great insurance at the time and cheap. Costs us $250 for entire hospital stay, delivery pre-natal checkups, the works. Worked with a guy back in 2013'ish and he had a baby and costs him $5k out of pocket!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Doo you speak Afgan?
    Might be a good option!
    Absolutely ! I like them guys a lot, do you have one that won't listen ?



    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974
    Worked with a guy back in 2013'ish and he had a baby and costs him $5k out of pocket!
    You worked with a guy who had a baby, and it only cost five grand ? I'd say that was cheap

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    There is a job ad in my area for an aerospace shop that wants a 5-axis programmer for....$17-32/hour.

    Now if you ask me, that sounds pretty damn low for a 5-axis person. $32 is only around $68K per year so...yea do you want that guy running your 5-axis machines if they feel underpaid? I don't. For reference here, my local Chik-Fil-A is hiring people right now at $17/hr MINIMUM and you're trying to get a 5axis programmer for that ? What the fuck is that...

    I think if you really want to capture and retain top talent in my area then you need to be looking ahead, and when I say ahead I mean there needs to be a realistic path to break a $100K salary within 1-2 years for a person (not for newbie, I am talking an experienced programmer/machinist here). There will always be guys who take what they can get but if a shop is trying to get people to jump to their shop then I am sorry, but $68K just isn't enough.

    $100K for a solid performer in a MCOL or HCOL area should basically be the minimum, the floor. That is if you are running complicated stuff or your responsibilities include any programming for complex stuff. $40-50 per hour should not be the exception to the rule here

    If you live in Arkansas then you can probably push that number down substantially. As more old timers retire well you kinda need to replace them. A person can choose a CompSci career and make $120K within a few years or they can choose a CNC career and make what...$50K? I don't think so. That equation needs to get fixed and fixed fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CITIZEN F16 View Post
    I think those wages are just a temporary spike to get people paid enough more to work than they get in free money. The federal extra $300 a week unemployment ends Sept 6th, even though Biden suggested states keep paying it out of Covid relief funds. I am not sure the size of your workforce. I think I would just try to wait out the storm, any chance you could use a temp agency temporarily or find some retired guys who would work part time? If you pay inflated wages to fill positions and your long term employees find out they are going to want a big bump or you will have a mutiny on your hands. Any chance to off load some work? I am sure plenty shops are hurting because Covid shut down their customers.
    Ehhhh your thesis has a glaring problem.

    Let's say it is correct. So yea businesses are throwing money at people just to get warm bodies in the door to keep the business running.

    So in 18 months what do you expect to happen? The business is just going to massively cut wages all of a sudden? The stock person is just going to accept going from $18/hr down to $14/hr? And prospective employees are going to take that lying down?

    No, the answer is clear. The current employee facing a wage cut is going to say F this, I am out and the prospective employee won't even consider that place because a store down the street is still offering $18/hour.

    Wages aren't going to go DOWN lmao. People are demanding more and clearly they refuse to work for less. What makes you think that will change? Many states have already expired their expanded unemployment schemes and the problem is persisting, so the issue involves alot more than just unemployment benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Ya health insurance sucks now. I have lower end coverage, but it only costs me $70/week sooo.... My daughter was born in 2000. Great insurance at the time and cheap. Costs us $250 for entire hospital stay, delivery pre-natal checkups, the works. Worked with a guy back in 2013'ish and he had a baby and costs him $5k out of pocket!
    I have what you may consider Cadillac insurance and I had orthopedic hardware put in. The insurance claim said the all in cost was $45,000! Ended up paying about $5k out of pocket christ almighty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    I have what you may consider Cadillac insurance and I had orthopedic hardware put in. The insurance claim said the all in cost was $45,000! Ended up paying about $5k out of pocket christ almighty.

    I just had an emergency room visit followed by an ambulance ride to a hospital followed by an overnight stay at said hospital for a coral snake bite (Total time in the system, about 16 hours)....

    The initial bill, pre-insurance was $94.5K.

    Insurance settled for $5800.

    I owe $100 out of pocket.

    The system sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    There is a job ad in my area for an aerospace shop that wants a 5-axis programmer for....$17-32/hour.

    Now if you ask me, that sounds pretty damn low for a 5-axis person. $32 is only around $68K per year so...yea do you want that guy running your 5-axis machines if they feel underpaid? I don't. For reference here, my local Chik-Fil-A is hiring people right now at $17/hr MINIMUM and you're trying to get a 5axis programmer for that ? What the fuck is that...

    I think if you really want to capture and retain top talent in my area then you need to be looking ahead, and when I say ahead I mean there needs to be a realistic path to break a $100K salary within 1-2 years for a person (not for newbie, I am talking an experienced programmer/machinist here). There will always be guys who take what they can get but if a shop is trying to get people to jump to their shop then I am sorry, but $68K just isn't enough.

    $100K for a solid performer in a MCOL or HCOL area should basically be the minimum, the floor. That is if you are running complicated stuff or your responsibilities include any programming for complex stuff. $40-50 per hour should not be the exception to the rule here

    If you live in Arkansas then you can probably push that number down substantially. As more old timers retire well you kinda need to replace them. A person can choose a CompSci career and make $120K within a few years or they can choose a CNC career and make what...$50K? I don't think so. That equation needs to get fixed and fixed fast.
    Pretty close to what I make, but salaried. BUT I program mostly 3 axis with a sprinkling of 4th axis stuff. We do have a live tool lathe coming so I get tot figure that out. Hopefully once I get up to snuff maybe I'll get a little more money...

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    Ehhhh your thesis has a glaring problem.

    Let's say it is correct. So yea businesses are throwing money at people just to get warm bodies in the door to keep the business running.

    So in 18 months what do you expect to happen? The business is just going to massively cut wages all of a sudden? The stock person is just going to accept going from $18/hr down to $14/hr? And prospective employees are going to take that lying down?

    No, the answer is clear. The current employee facing a wage cut is going to say F this, I am out and the prospective employee won't even consider that place because a store down the street is still offering $18/hour.


    Wages aren't going to go DOWN lmao. People are demanding more and clearly they refuse to work for less. What makes you think that will change? Many states have already expired their expanded unemployment schemes and the problem is persisting, so the issue involves alot more than just unemployment benefits.

    There is still the whole regular unemployment to suck off of for quite some time yet I am sure.
    If anyone was banking $ during the overpayment period, I am sure that they can live fine off the regular benefits during that period as well.


    One of two things will have to happen:

    A) These escalated wages will have to come back down
    B) Inflation will have to come up to this level
    C) The two will meet in the middle somewhere.

    If C, I don't want to have a mess'a warm bodies on the payroll for 2021 rates!

    However, at this point, I'm not expecting [even talk of] unemployment benefits to run out before Nov / 2022


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox


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