jobs

Manual Tools to High Tech CNC Machines: The Future of Manufacturing

For decades, the Hudson Valley has been the center of manufacturing innovation from small family owned companies to large corporations. With increasing demand and pressure from global competitors, companies big and small are looking for ways to create high quality products in the most efficient ways possible.

In order to understand how rapid, the technological growth has been, HV MFG sat down with Allendale Machinery Systems to discuss the advancements within the manufacturing sector. The McGill Family is comprised of three generations Tom, Marty, and Neil who helped build the company to the success story it is today. Tom was stationed in Japan after WWII as part of the rebuilding process.

After his service, Tom decided to pursue a degree in International Relations at Georgetown University. However, he quickly realized foreign service was not what he wanted to do. Thanks to a few connections in Japan, Tom was able to get a job selling Japanese manufacturing equipment in the US. Tom explains that during the time, many manufacturing companies were not fond of buying foreign made machines. However, the low price and high quality compared to similar American made machines, won over customers. With his success, Tom decided to start his own company in 1981, which is when Allendale Machinery Systems came to life.

During this time, Tom had met Gene Haas who was building machine tools. Tom had advised Gene on the importance of focusing on quality and features, something he learned while working for the Japanese company. Eventually, Allendale Machinery Systems began selling Haas equipment exclusively. The business began to grow within the family as Marty joined the company in 1987 after realizing college was not for him.

Today, Marty serves as Vice President and is responsible for selling Haas machines to various locations. In addition to that, Marty also informs his customers on the capabilities of the new machining equipment on the market today. This allows his customers to decide if they want to purchase a new machine entirely or upgrade an existing one. Lately, Marty and his team have been working with the Council of Industry to provide more educational resources to machinists and encourage young professionals to join the trade.

Providing workforce training has been a critical goal of both Allendale Machinery and Council of Industry. Neil, the third member of the family-owned business and Director of Operations at the company, explained the successful business growth to HV MFG. Neil began working at Allendale Machinery in 2006, after graduating from college. He started making inside sales and learning his customer base; finding out their needs and challenges. Neil took the information he gathered over time and implemented a business strategy focused at delivering customers requests. Those efforts have paid off as Allendale now employs 45 employees working at their headquarters and satellite offices. Allendale Machinery has developed such a successful reputation, that their client base now exceeds 800 active customers.

Allendale Machinery has proved that a successful business is dependent on delivering and exceeding the expectations of your clients. Additionally, Allendale knows that the future of the industry is dependent on educating the next generation about manufacturing and the knowledge needed to run these high-tech machining tools.

 

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Best Practices for Creating a Job Description that Stands Out

 

With low unemployment rates in the United States, employers need to find innovative ways to win over candidates. This starts with job descriptions as they are often the first thing candidates will come across when interacting with your organization. Just how employers look for a candidate who sticks out from others, applicants look for the same when researching companies. Luckily, with some best practices; job descriptions can help you target the perfect candidate.

Don’t Underestimate the Job Title
Job titles are pretty self-explanatory and often times, not much thought is put into them. However, if numerous companies in a given area use the same generic title; it will do little to make your organization stand out. Instead, take a moment to think of a way for your job title to differentiate from others. For example, changing Machinist to CNC Operator I. Small changes like these, will catch the eye of a candidate looking in that field. In addition, key words like CNC Operator will help career platforms such as Indeed to put your posting closer to the top of the open jobs list.

Relate the Job Description to your Company Culture
Job descriptions give a sneak peak to candidates about what they can expect from your company. There should be emphasis placed to make sure there is no disconnect between the company mission statement and what the role entails. For example, if your mission statement highlights taking challenges head-on; consider writing a job description that describes projects employees work on for company/personal growth. Connecting your mission statement with a job posting will tell the candidate that your serious about achieving your goals.

Don’t Overload the Requirements Section
In an effort to deter unqualified candidates from applying, many hiring managers will create a laundry list of qualifications needed for the position. Unfortunately, this can backfire by deterring candidates who have the drive/ambition but lack extensive work experience like college graduates. Instead, try creating a separate list for minimum and preferred qualifications. This will help hiring managers go through an applicant pool that has the necessary skills but also is not too restrictive.

Short and Simple
In the age of smartphones and social media, many candidates are ditching a traditional desktop and instead using their phones to apply for jobs. If you ever viewed a poorly designed webpage on a mobile browser; you’ll notice all the text crammed into a small space making it confusing to read. Avoid the same result by creating short paragraphs and utilizing bullet points to get the message across.

Research the Competition
Having difficulty creating an interesting job description? Google can quickly become your greatest asset; simply search for the same job title and compare other companies job postings with yours. This is a great way to determine if your post stands out from the rest and to learn what benefits/compensation are other organizations offering. Salary and perks like vacation time/health insurance are key things that today’s candidates are looking for.

While creating job descriptions can be tedious, spending the extra time to ensure your posting is unique can help you reduce the amount of time the position is up for and attract qualified candidates. Best practices like these, demonstrate how today’s workforce is evolving and employers need to align their business models to benefit from that.

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Building a More Inclusive Workspace

In today’s competitive job market, companies are looking for ways to diversify their employee portfolios and bring in the best talents. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who have not been given the opportunity to utilize their unique skills. One non-profit organization in Michigan is looking to change that. Autism Alliance of Michigan strives to help individuals who are on the autism spectrum find quality jobs that allow them to use the skills they’ve gained through college.

In 2016, Autism Alliance of Michigan teamed up with Ford Motor Co. to employ over a dozen individuals in different fields including communications, engineering, and financing. Other employers across the country including General Motors and DTE Energy Co. have hired dozens of employees with autism. The CEO of Autism Alliance of Michigan emphasized that “there’s this untapped talent pool that we should be looking at to fill these jobs.”

Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause communication and behavioral challenges. This can lead to difficulty finding a job even with a college degree. The government does not specifically track unemployment rates within the autism spectrum community. However, according to The Detroit News, studies have shown it can be as high as 90%. Individuals who do get a job, often get put into positions that are not in their field of study. 

The Detroit News, interviewed Kevin Roach who graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in electronic arts. This type of major focuses on using digital media software like Adobe Photoshop. However, after graduation Kevin was doing manual labor and felt that his talents were not being utilized. Fast forward two years, and Kevin is now working for Ford Motor Credit Co. LLC asa Junior Technical Renewal Analyst. The Autism Alliance of Michigan as well as other organizations provide support for companies that choose to partner with them. This way, if an employee needs support adjusting to a new work environment or new supervisor; they can be put in contact with a support member. This helps employees feel comfortable and accommodated while also allowing them to use their talents.

As a new generation emerges into the workforce, organizations are giving students with Autism a head start at finding a career they have a passion for. Project Search for example, is an initiative that has connected Detroit public schools’ students with disabilities to a broad range of jobs. This way, students are able to get support even before college. Initiatives like these, prove that there is value and importance to build a diverse employee base. There is a lot of potential that could mutually help companies with their workforce needs and individuals looking for a fulfilling job. Companies can help remove boundaries and contribute to their community by partnering up with university disability resource centers. These efforts can help build a more inclusive workforce.

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King’s Hawaiian: Three Woman Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Manufacturing

 

The manufacturing industry has long been dominated by males, however as work demographics begin to change; woman have been increasingly taking on various roles. In the New York town of Oakwood, one company is at the forefront of promoting equality on the production floor. If the name King’s Hawaiian sounds familiar, that’s because they are responsible for making the delicious sweet rolls found in bakery departments of supermarkets across the country.

The Gainesville Times recently interviewed a few women who work at the plant, one of them being Charlotte Caldwell. Caldwell became the first female production supervisor at this location which helps supply the rolls in the surrounding areas. She mentioned how she starts off her work day by walking down the production line and checking-in with employees. Her experience in operations and passion for food made her the perfect person for this role. Caldwell is looking to challenge the gender stereotypes that are associated with manufacturing. She mentioned to the Gainesville Times, “We have to understand that gender stereotypes can cloud what we think and how we react to people, but that’s not how it should be.”

Caldwell began her career at King’s Hawaiian as a catering helper. After talking with the HR manager about her interests in the company; she became a production floor-woman. Soon after, she was promoted to the supervisor position. Her role consists of ensuring the needs of her employees are being met and meeting with the operations teams. Logistics is everything as the factory is able to produce nearly 70,000 rolls an hour.

In a different part of the factory, Samantha Steele oversees the overall safety and well-being of workers. She began her career at the company as a industrial athletic trainer, and then became a safety manager. Steele focuses on ways for employees on the production floor to reduce aches and pains associated with standing/moving for long periods of time. She wants to make sure employees go home as healthy and happy as they came to work. While Steele acknowledges this is a unique way to get into the manufacturing sector, she loves her job and being able to contribute to employee’s health.

On the production floor, Sandra Imperial reflects on her manufacturing career path. Growing up, she felt pressured to go into roles such as nursing or teaching. However, it wasn’t until her 20’s that Imperial realized her passion was in manufacturing. She started work at King’s Hawaiian as an entry-level packer and then transitioned into a dough divider operator. After gaining an apprenticeship, the company paid for her to go back to school and get on-the-job training. Today, Imperial is an industrial manufacturing technician with over five years of experience.

These three women represent a small fraction of the factory’s employees. However, their impact in the workplace has encouraged people from all over to pursue a career because of their abilities and passions not because of biased stereotypes that limit people’s growth. While gender inequality in the workplace is still being challenged, success stories like these continue to prove the benefits of ensuring everyone gets an equal chance at work.

The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center recently received a grant from the Rowley Family Fund for Women and Children to help encourage women and girls throughout the Hudson Valley to pursue a career in manufacturing. To keep manufacturing alive and thriving throughout the region we must inspire and motivate women to enter the field. The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center will use the grant money to create videos targeting the young women of the tri-county region in classroom presentations and on social media. These videos will spotlight women in manufacturing at all levels from apprentices to engineers and showcase the many opportunities for success available throughout the region. 

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Metallized Carbon: Innovation at the Core of its Growth

This week, we turn our attention to Metallized Carbon, a state-of-the-art manufacturing company located in Ossining, New York. If you were to enter the factory floor, you likely wouldn’t know what their products are used for. Metcar is the trade name used for special materials that are self-lubricating which are used in the aerospace industry. Many of these parts are used in machinery where temperatures are too high for conventional oil-based lubricants. HV MFG spoke with Metallized Carbon a few years back to learn more about their production methods. Their products differ from the competition as they use graphite which has self-lubricating properties. In addition, their products are combined with other solid lubricants that are chemically bonded together using a carbon binder. Today, Metallized Carbon has over 150 different Metcar Grades that can be used on a wide variety of applications depending on the customer’s needs.

Metallized Carbon was founded in 1945 when Preston Siebert began working from his detached garage specializing in metal impregnation services. He originally worked to develop a way for graphite to combine with molten metal. The electronics sector was very interested in this as carbon graphite proved to be a better conductor than just graphite alone. By the 1950’s, Metallized Carbon began manufacturing carbon bearings used in the board drying industry. In the 1970’s, Metcar became a registered trademark for the company and developed new base materials that have unique uses in the commercial aerospace industry and in military equipment. Such innovation, required the company to grow significantly. Today, the company has transformed itself from 2 car garage to six buildings covering 85,000 sq. feet and employing 125 people. By the 2000’s with the growth of the aerospace industry, Metcar expanded to different divisions for Mexico and Asia while also increasing US production. President & CEO of Metallized Carbon, Matthew Brennan mentioned that his company is both high-tech and cutting edge in order to meet the needs of their clients.

Thanks to efforts from the Council of Industry and other local Hudson Valley businesses, Metallized Carbon was able to secure funding for a new facility that now holds the aerospace materials division. Located in Mountaindale, the new facility is 15,000 sq. feet with the ability to expand to 65,000 sq. feet in the future. Looking ahead, Brennan intends to hire new employees to continue the innovation the company is known for. Thankfully, New York colleges in the Hudson Valley have provided Metallized Carbon with engineers ready to take on the next challenge. Additionally, Brennan and his team are fortunate for the dedicated employees that help keep the production floor running smoothly. While the future does not hold guarantees, Metallized Carbon is continuing to expand with an emphasis on innovation and quality products.

 

 

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Creativity and Ambition: One Person’s Path Towards a Rewarding Career

Over one million people call the Hudson Valley home, with many working in various manufacturing industries. Sono-Tek Corporation is a state-of-the-art manufacturing center in Milton, NY that specializes in ultrasonic spray-coating. Within this company, a man named Adam Carlock has made a career for himself. Adam spoke with HV MFG last year and discussed his passion for manufacturing.

Adam grew up on Long Island and went to college to study accounting. However, after his first year, Adam realized accounting was not for him. His passion lies with cooking which he used to pursue a career as a chef for ten years. While he liked his job, the career proved challenging when also trying to raise a family. At this point, Adam knew a more traditional 9 to 5 job would be a better option. After moving to the Hudson Valley, Adam decided to take general engineering courses at SUNY Dutchess where he got his associates degree. Afterwards, he transferred to SUNY New Paltz to earn his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. While taking classes at New Paltz, Adam took an internship through the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center which opened his eyes to the different sectors he could go into with his engineering degree. Additionally, one of Adam’s professors told him about an opening at Sono-Tek Corporation where he could work 12 hours a week while attending classes.

After jumping on the opportunity, Adam eventually received a full-time offer after graduation. One of the requirements for graduation, included a senior design project which Adam decided to create a 3D printer that could print out bowls made of chocolate. Interestingly, this brought him to the Culinary Institute of America where he met with chocolate experts who advised him on how to build a climate-controlled module for the printer to function properly. This allowed Adam to use his passion and knowledge of culinary arts into his engineering studies.

Currently, Adam is a Junior Engineer at Sono-Tek where he is able to further build on his manufacturing skills. He explains being able to work on internal projects and speed up efficiency is one of the best parts of his job. Adam’s commitment has been beneficial to Sono-Tek as they have reorganized their production equipment to make sure products are being produced at an efficient rate while maintaining quality. In addition, Sono-Tek has also invested in software to help track production and product parts to simplify logistics.

Adam is an example of how creativity and determination can lead to a rewarding career where you can directly apply the skill-sets learned in a college education. Adam also has advice for anyone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing, “Find what interests you. There are so many fields to choose from, find something you have a passion for.”

Want to pursue a career like Adam did? Click here to see a list of open positions available through the Council of Industry. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow our Instagram page @councilofindustry.

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Wage and Benefit Survey Results Suggest Moderate Growth in 2019 for Hudson Valley Manufacturers

 

The Council of Industry and Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research and School of Management along with Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions have compiled and analyzed the results from the 2018 Annual Wage and Benefits survey of Hudson Valley manufacturing companies. Twenty-five companies participated in the survey this year with a combined total of 2,869 reported employees.

Wage Trends

2018 wage increases among participating companies averaged 3.1% for the management group, 2.9% for the professional group, 3.2% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.7% for the technical group, 3.2% for the manufacturing/production group, and 3.4% for the sales group. These were in line with the pay increases observed nationally, which came in at 3.1%.

Planned increases for 2019 are 2.9% for the management group, 2.7% for the professional group, 2.8% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.7% for the technical group, 2.7% for the manufacturing/production group, and 2.8% for the sales group. Nationally, pay increases for 2019 are projected to be 3.2%.

 Hiring Plans

72% of respondents indicated that they are looking to do new hiring in 2019, and the vast majority (96%) indicated that they are not looking to reduce their workforce in 2019. Most new hires made in 2018 were in the manufacturing and technical groups. Approximately 35% of respondents indicated that they had positions that went unfilled in 2018. Among the positions that were reportedly difficult to fill are: Machinist Positions, Assembler, Entry Level Production, Converting Operator, Machine Operator, CNC/Manual Machinist, Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, and Sales/Product Development.

“Hiring – especially for skilled workers is an ongoing challenge for our members and these survey results confirm that fact,” said Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development for the Council of Industry. “We are hopeful that several initiatives we have undertaken in the past year, including our Collaborative Recruiting Program (www.HVMfgJobs.com)  and our Apprentice Program will have a positive impact in 2019.  We’re working to help our members find and train the workers they need.”

 Hudson Valley Manufacturers are working with the Council of Industry on several initiatives to address the challenge of finding quality candidates to fill open positions. 52% of respondents reported that they utilize the Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Effort. 48% of respondents do not. This initiative was put in place to help our members who are struggling to fill the previously mentioned positions.

 Health Coverage

All participating companies reported providing health care coverage for their employees, and that employee health care premiums are paid on a pre-tax basis. 21 respondents provide Dental Coverage, 20 provide a Vision/Optical Plan, and 21 provide an HSA or HRA.

Council of Industry President Harold King says, “The survey results confirm that manufacturing jobs in the region continue to provide good wages and benefits. We also see some upward pressure on wages most likely resulting from a tight labor market.”

The Council of Industry has been the manufacturer’s association of the Hudson Valley since 1910. Our membership includes manufacturers and businesses related to the manufacturing industry throughout Southeastern New York. We are a privately funded not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to promote the success of our member firms and their employees, and through them contribute to the success of the Hudson Valley Community. We provide access to training, networking opportunities, advocacy and discounts of products and services for our members.

This is the tenth wage and salary survey since a resumption of the collaboration between the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York and Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research (BER) and the School of Management, and the fifth year that it is being co-sponsored by Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions.

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Job Openings Hit a High With 488,000 Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs

Job openings hit a record in August while the total number of hires also reached a record number. Of those job openings, manufacturers are creating a historic number of new jobs. Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry faces a workforce crisis that could leave millions of lucrative jobs unfilled in the years to come. The number of unfilled manufacturing jobs is projected to continue to grow in the coming years, which could have a dampening effect on both manufacturing in the United States and broader economic growth in our country. Below are links to two articles that explore this topic in more depth.

From NAM (National Association of Manufacturers):

There Are Still 488,000 Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs in the U.S. Manufacturers Are Working to Fix It.

From CNBC:

Another great sign for the economy: Job openings hit an all-time high in August

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Do We Really Need Job Descriptions?

By Rebecca Mazin, Recruit Right, Council of Industry Certificate in Manufacturing leadership Instructor

On a recent Friday afternoon, I sat down to write a job description. Then I took a nap.

To create a job description, I don’t use a formula and simply change a few words, it’s not a rote task. Good job descriptions include required education, experience, competencies, essential functions and reporting relationships. I know the process takes one to one and a half hours. It’s just a boring task. So, I am likely to procrastinate and wait for a slice of unscheduled time.

The employer reviewed this job description and made only a few suggestions. Revising the document brought a familiar question; do we really need job descriptions? In this situation the job description was written to clarify roles, responsibilities and reporting structure. It will be presented to the incumbent in the job to ensure understanding, making certain everyone is on the same page. So, yes, I think it’s a good idea.

Job Descriptions as Living Documents

Many job descriptions reside on shelves in binders or inhabit personnel files as hard copy or in digital folders. They’re consulted so infrequently they could be hibernating. Job descriptions will be more effective if they are dusted off and checked for accuracy and revised regularly.

For employers who conduct a formal performance rating process the job description can be used as a baseline for responsibilities. Promotions or job postings are also perfect times for a job description check. Systems, structures and responsibilities change, particularly items that related to ever changing technology.

Job descriptions are important parts of any discussion about accommodations for a disability. They form the basis for the interactive conversation that identifies essential tasks and potential modifications.

New hires will appreciate a job description. It should be one they understand and has been checked to make certain it is current. Telling a team member, “Don’t worry about this section, we haven’t done that in years,” is not an engaging onboarding statement.

Other Duties As Assigned

No employer wants to get boxed in by a job description that’s treated as a complete list of all responsibilities. To avoid, or respond to, “it’s not my job,” descriptions include a statement that allows for changes, new assignments, something like, “other duties as assigned.” Good idea but not something that should be stressed as the focus of the job description.

An acknowledgment of receipt of the job description, that often includes language about “other duties” is part of many employer’s documents. If these are used, they too should be user friendly. Don’t hand the job description to the employee with a pen and say, “sign here, I’ll give you a copy.” Think about whether asking for the signed acknowledgment is a welcoming statement and if it is your practice frame it as a benefit for everyone at your workplace.

Flip the Format

There is no one format for a job description. Think outside the usual constraint and use a format that works for your organization. I have written what I called, “Job Expectations.”

These include basic headings and simple language such as:

  • Your job title
  • Who you report to
  • Your work hours
  • Your basic responsibilities
  • Here’s who you interact with
  • Some things you will need to learn

User friendly content can also note that duties can change.

Get Employee Input

Staring at a blank document makes a job description even harder to write. When there are incumbents in a position I use a questionnaire to help identify goals, education/experience required, knowledge and skills needed and major and minor duties. It’s important to remember that a good job description is not simply a reflection of what the incumbent is doing in the role. They may have a non-traditional background and be working to stretch into new tasks.

Having a staff member write their own job description can be a tool for engagement if they too don’t start with a blank page. Provide a format or list of content required to avoid a simple list of daily routines. This exercise could be combined with goal setting to set the stage for growth and contributions.

Job Descriptions as Postings are Boring

Job descriptions are not effective job postings. Particularly in a job seekers market 2 – 3 pages of dry language does not inspire a candidate. We seem to forget that a job posting is an advertisement. Just because online sites give plenty of room for job posting content doesn’t mean it should all be used. When a job seeker is using their phone for a search they may only catch the first 4 lines. Will they really read past a 15+ line description of the company to get to details about the job?

When we make it hard for candidates we shouldn’t be surprised to receive so many resumes from individuals with unrelated backgrounds. So keep a job posting as direct and brief as possible with a compelling 2-3 sentence description of the company.

A Resume is Not a Job Description

On the other side of the job search, too many candidates quote, or cut and paste, a job description to write a resume. Employers can spot these resumes right away. They demonstrate minimal preparation and thought. And let’s remember that resumes are not thrilling documents either, no reason to add content that is truly snooze worthy.

Toss the Poorly Written Job Descriptions

I frequently see organizations copy and use documents from other employers. They cut and past a logo and presto: a performance evaluation, job description, form or even employee handbook.

You are better off having nothing than simply bringing job descriptions from other employers, changing a logo, and putting it in place. The concept doesn’t work on so many levels. There’s the obvious, it’s not accurate and the roll out was so poor that no one understands the document. It becomes embarrassing when employees spot content that still includes the name of the employer that was the document source. Even worse when it includes names of senior managers and/or owners.

As I revise this document I can conclude that we don’t need second-rate job descriptions. When they’re sloppy, poorly written and don’t reflect the jobs, toss them.  Job descriptions are valuable when they’re written well and used effectively.

 

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ADP Employment Report: How do the Numbers Stack Up?

Our associate member ADP has released their latest employment report for December. According to their data, manufacturers added 2,000 jobs in November. It was the second straight month the manufacturing industry had been in positive territory. Total US nonfarm private employment is 257,000. Employment among companies with 50-499 employees increased by 65,000 jobs, up roughly 10 percent from last month.

While two straight months of increasing employment is always welcome news, the report also showcased continuing vulnerabilities in the manufacturing industry. Among the specific industries the report highlighted manufacturing’s increase was noticeably lower than the rest. The financial activities industry added 13,000 jobs, construction added 24,000, trade/transportation/utilities increased by 38,000, and professional/business services was up a whopping 66,000. Overall the average monthly employment growth was almost 200,000 for the year, compared to roughly 240,000 jobs per month in 2014. In the report, Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute said that “weakness in the energy and manufacturing sectors was mostly responsible for the drop off.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release official job numbers on Friday.

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