How Lawton is responding to labor shortages

By C.A. Lawton | June 8, 2022
lawton labor shortage blog

Job openings unexpectedly crept higher in December 2021, as the recovery from the omicron variant sent a wave of COVID-19 infections nationwide. We at The C.A. Lawton Co. have been directly affected by this mass wave of unemployment and wanted to do some deeper digging on how it impacted us and our sister locations.

The Hard Facts of Labor Shortage

According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, the employment RSE is 3.3%. The hourly wage average is $19.22, and the annual wage is $39,980. In foundries across the U.S., the employment number is 8,870 and the percent of industry employment is 8.79. Before COVID, the national RSE was 5.2% and the hourly wage was $17.75, with an annual wage of $36,920. With the demand for workers, the Lawton Standard foundries increased pay rates in hopes to attract more workers.

Current rates of employment of foundry mold and core makers (2022):

  • Michigan: Employment is 1,650 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.41 
  • Ohio: Employment is 1,380 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.27
  • Wisconsin: Employment is 1,190 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.43
  • Pennsylvania: Employment is 1,000 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.18
  • Texas: Employment is 630 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.05

The numbers above are the current rates of employment/ jobs per thousand in each state where our five locations are. Compare that to the numbers below from 2019 (Before COVID). These numbers are quite a bit smaller than before COVID, which shows you how hard the industry was hit and how we are still trying to recover.

2019 rates of employment of foundry mold and core makers (2019):

  • Michigan: Employment is 2,230 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.51
  • Ohio: Employment is 3,000 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.55
  • Wisconsin: Employment is 1,490 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.52
  • Pennsylvania: Employment is 1,270 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.22
  • Texas: Employment is 580 and the employment per thousand jobs is 0.05

Below are the numbers in each state for the location quotient of foundry workers and the annual mean for each of our sister locations.

  • Location quotient of foundry mold and core makers (2022):
    • Wisconsin: Location quotient is 4.47 
    • Michigan: Location quotient is 4.22 
    • Ohio: Location quotient is 2.75 
    • Pennsylvania: Location quotient is 1.85 
    • Texas: Location quotient is 0.53 
  • Location quotient of foundry mold and core makers (2019):
    • Wisconsin: Location quotient is 4.34
    • Michigan: Location quotient is 4.29
    • Ohio: Location quotient is 4.60
    • Pennsylvania: Location quotient is 1.80
    • Texas: Location quotient is 0.39

Below are the numbers in each state for the annual mean of foundry mold and core makers for each of our sister locations.

  • Annual mean wage of foundry mold and coremakers 
    • Wisconsin: Annual wage is $42,730 and hourly is $20.54
    • Michigan: Annual wage is $44,690 and hourly is $21.49
    • Ohio: Annual wage is $41,700 and hourly is $20.05
    • Pennsylvania: Annual wage is $39,730 and hourly is $19.10
    • Texas: Annual wage is $33,900 and hourly is $16.30
  • Annual mean wage of foundry mold and coremakers¬†
    • Wisconsin: Annual wage is $37,710 and hourly is $18.13
    • Michigan: Annual wage is $40,940 and hourly is $19.68
    • Ohio: Annual wage is $31,600 and hourly is $15.19
    • Pennsylvania: Annual wage is $36,170 and hourly is $17
    • Texas: Annual wage is $33,900 and hourly is $16.30

How Lawton is Addressing Labor Shortage

The Lawton Standard family of companies has a multi-faceted approach to the labor shortage. We’ve pooled our resources, hired outside help, reevaluated our incentive packages, and opened up part-time job opportunities. We’re also exploring per diem options for fixing bottlenecks.

It Takes a Family

The Lawton Standard family of companies has been able to share our full bench of engineers, human resource personnel, marketing staff, compliance and EHS experts, as well as our C Suite executives across all of our companies. This makes for a streamlined and “lighter” top end of the company while alleviating the need to hire more personnel and allowing us to use qualified people in other roles.

We’re currently looking for a Metallurgist who will travel!

We’re looking for a traveling Casting Engineer!

Independent Contractors

The C.A. Lawton company has thoroughly enjoyed working with outside marketing help for years. Having recently lost interns who moved on to additional school or full-time careers, we’ve turned to an independent contractor to fill the gap. Our new independent contractor will assist primarily with social media and video. This helps us reduce the pinch of labor shortage because the contractor only charges for direct value-added time, keeping costs down until we find the right person to fill the role.

Check out this PART-TIME Marketing and Communications job!

Upping the Incentive Ante

Due to inflation as well as the labor shortage, our companies have reevaluated pay scales and benefits packages. We’ve offered stipends, raises, and enticing benefits. We offer paid time off to new employees after just 30 days! We offer benefits at 60 days! We looked at similar jobs in our area and found our pay is often higher, sometimes by several dollars/hour.

Check out this Full-Time Supervisor role in De Pere, WI with benefits and a potential $28/hour

Part-Time, Different Shifts, and Per Diem

Though most of our positions lend themselves to full-time, we do offer part-time flexible hours when possible. And we’d consider job sharing for the right people. Our weekend shifts cut down on drive time and save you gas by working just three days a week! Our 2nd and 3rd shift positions offer great pay.

We’re working on pre-qualifying per diem workers to take on occasional gig-style work as they have the availability and we have the need. This might be a great fit for seasonal workers who need a little money in their slower times.

Save on gas by working the Weekend!

We’re looking for a Pattern Maker intern or co-op!

Check out this 2nd/3rd shift Maintenance Tech position in De Pere

Work 2nd/3rd shift at our Minster, OH location

Be sure to check out our Careers page to learn more about all the benefits of working with Lawton!