Robots are hot!

Over the last several years manufacturing employment has fluctuated for a variety of reasons. The aging workforce, the collapse of labor-intensive commodity manufacturing here in the US and the expansion of super-productive advanced manufacturing have reduced the number of people necessary to exceed production rates in US manufacturing plants. The proof can be seen in North American robotic sales statistics. 2016 was projected to go down as a record breaking year for robot orders and shipments in North America. “Overall, North American companies have ordered a value of $1.3 billion robots (around 23,985 robots) just in the first nine months of 2016! This is a 7% increase in units and 3% increase in dollars when compared to 2015, which held the previous record. According to RIA, there are around 269,000 robots in North American factories, third to Japan and China. RIA states that these record sales were driven by the strong demand from automotive OEM’s and component suppliers. In this industry alone, robot orders were up 14% before the year’s end. In addition, the food and consumer foods industry continues to increase by an astonishing 40%, every year.” This trend has created a heightened need for manufacturers to have even more educated, highly technical employees.


Bruce Peacock
Vice President of Business Development
The Richmond Group USA

Construction jobs on the rise nationwide

Construction jobs on the rise nationwideThe improving economy seems to be bringing with it increased opportunity for advancement in the construction industry, both for individual workers and companies as a whole.

Over the course of 2016, nearly 3 in every 4 states saw an increase in construction jobs, even despite a relative lack of well-trained workers looking for positions, according to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. That number was down from the nearly 9 in 10 states that added construction jobs in 2015, but the vast majority of businesses in the field think they will be able to further increase hiring in 2017.

“However, the shortage of workers is their top concern and nearly three-quarters of contractors say they are having a hard time filling positions,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC.

Much of the construction seen across the U.S. went toward supporting energy infrastructure, according to the latest data found in the U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the Department of Energy. Indeed, nearly 1 in every 3 construction jobs nationwide last year were for energy and associated projects. That that was up from slightly more than 1 in 4 the year prior.

Initiatives growing to connect non-traditional workers with healthcare jobs

Initiatives growing to connect non-traditional workers with healthcare jobsThe healthcare field has a growing need for employees but may not necessarily have all the resources in place to meet those requirements. To that end, more is being done to find professionals who might not traditionally work in the sector.

For instance, some healthcare providers may now be looking to hire older people who otherwise might not have traditionally been seen as a well-known resource, according to the AARP. For those over 50, there are plenty of jobs available in the field, ranging from telemetry technicians and opticians to medical billers. Some might even find success working for themselves by becoming massage therapists or physical therapists who specifically work with older people.

Meanwhile, officials in New York City are now trying to fill a different need, according to the New York Daily News. There, the city is piloting its Bilingual Medical Assistant Training program, in an attempt to fill healthcare jobs that can help local hospitals more effectively communicate with patients who speak limited English. And to that end, it is also working to train residents who themselves speak limited English to fill those roles, first with courses to help them learn the language, then with actual healthcare training.

Already, the program has dozens of participants hailing from a number of countries around the world.

Information security jobs reached new high in 2016

Information security jobs reached new high in 2016There were 89,000 people working as information security analysts in the U.S. in 2016, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by GovInfoSecurity. This figure is 27 percent higher than the number of workers in 2015, when there were 70,000 analysts.

In 2011, there were just 44,000 people working in the field. As of 2015, the mean annual salary for information security analysts was $93,250, according to the source.

“Institutions are educating more aspiring infosec professionals, but not enough to account for this jump,” said Diana Burley, executive director and chair of the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection and a professor at George Washington University, in an interview with the source. “Position reclassifications and relabeling, based on newly defined workforce frameworks, are an important contributor. In addition, many current IT professionals are transitioning into infosec career roles.”

Information security specialists are also making up a larger part of the overall workforce at companies. CEB surveyed 50 chief information security officers in the U.S. last year and found that the share of security professionals as part of the total number of IT employees was 3.6 percent in 2016, up from 2.7 percent in 2012, InformationWeek reported.

More than half of Americans prioritize renewable energy over fossil fuels

More than half of Americans prioritize renewable energy over fossil fuelsWhile just 27 percent of Americans report they would support fossil fuels over alternative energy, 65 percent of respondents said they would prioritize renewable energy, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The number of those in the U.S. who prefer focusing on alternative energy has increased 5 percent since December 2014, when it was at 60 percent.

Researchers found that preference differed by age, as 73 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 listed expanding clean energy as a priority compared to 22 percent of respondents in that age demographic who felt priority should be given to advancing fossil fuels.

Among Americans over the age of 50, the difference was closer with 55 percent favoring alternative energy and 34 percent putting fossil fuels first.

In more recent news, solar energy has surpassed wind energy as the most cost-effective form of energy, according to the Energy Collective. Moreover, reporting on figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, unsubsidized large-scale solar is even becoming cheaper than both natural gas and coal.

Currently, this has only proved true in the deserts of the Middle East and Chile, where the sun shines brightly most days. If solar proves to be the most cost-effective option for energy creation, it will completely change global electricity markets, noted the EC.

Kroger will fill 10,000 positions at grocery stores across the U.S.

Kroger will fill 10,000 positions at grocery stores across the U.S.On Monday, Kroger Co. announced that it will be filling 10,000 permanent positions this year, reported Reuters. The supermarket chain created 12,000 jobs in 2016.

Though the recently-announced figure is lower than the number of jobs the company added last year, Kroger is jumping on board with a number of other U.S. companies that are publicly forecasting employment numbers as a result of political pressure, noted Reuters.

AutoZone Inc., Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are just a few additional companies that have announced measures to generate more jobs within their given companies.

Despite lower projected growth for the year and a 1.1 percent drop in shares yesterday afternoon, Kroger is keeping up with advances in tech among brick-and-mortar stores.

Company spokesman Eric Halvorson recently told the Herald & Review that there are more than 550 Kroger stores across the country that have implemented an online grocery shopping feature. Known as “ClickList,” customers can select grocery items online and store workers will shop for them.

Within a certain window of time, customers then drive to the store location and the bags of food items will be brought out to their cars.

The most recent store to launch the program, in Decatur, Georgia, has been met with much success, according to the source.