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BLS Report Release From November 3, 2022

BLS statistic

Productivity Drives Prosperity



Published on

Nov 4, 2022

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Word Count: 890

Key Takeaway: Machine shops feel national trends more than do the manufacturing giants, but you can combat productivity losses with "Wordless Working."

In the report released yesterday, the BLS tells us that in the durable manufacturing sector, productivity decreased by 4.3%. That results from a 6.6% increase in hours worked with a 2.0% increase in output.

We tend to think of the BLS data as applying to the manufacturing giants. It applies to the roughly 19,000 U.S machine shops, more than one might initially think.

While they might be small compared to the behemoth manufacturers, machine shops are the backbone of American Manufacturing. Machine shop leaders face the same challenges as the big manufacturers.

The difference is that machine shops feel the trends more than behemoths.


If you have a team of 30 and 2 quit, you are short roughly 7% of your workforce. The big company can offer overtime and mandate that people work extra hours to make up for the 7%. Or they might even run short-handed. Big companies do that.

If your machine shop has a team of 8 and 2 quit, you are short 25% of your workforce. While the remaining 6 workers may pitch in the short term, long-term asking them to cover 25% more work isn’t viable.

The behemoths can absorb more because of their size.

The same holds true on the financial end. They can take a revenue hit and there may be some discomfort, but they get through it. The behemoth might be taking a 5% or 7% hit on their top-line revenue, and some of that impacts the bottom line, but they have resources.

The executives put a smile on their PowerPoint presentation, call it “headwinds,” and cash their bonus checks.

Your 25% staff shortage impacts your revenue and has a big impact on your bottom line. Resources? The bank isn’t running to lend you more money unless you can solve the problem.

Why are BLS productivity numbers so important to machine shop leaders, and why should we pay attention to them?

Productivity drives prosperity.

Look around your machine shop, and you see that at times when productivity is increasing, your prosperity does too.

To protect prosperity, you've got to drive productivity up.

With "quiet quitting," the challenge gets harder. Some of the people who are “quiet quitting” are doing it in the name of work/life balance. They just want to do the minimum required amount and nothing more. They see themselves as heroes.

I was taught that when you work, it is like playing a sport. Either way, you put everything into it. If a game is worth playing, it is worth playing to win. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That means you work hard. You work smarter. You get better at what you do. You get job security from giving your employer more than they pay for.

There is nothing wrong with giving your employer more than they pay for any more than it is wrong to go back to a restaurant that charges the same but gives you a bigger or better sandwich.

Maybe a work-hard mentality as a value set is old-fashioned. Maybe it is no longer in vogue.

Or, maybe that is what missing in the world today.

Instead of dealing with "quiet quitting," try "Wordless Working."

What is "Wordless Working?"

Wordless Working is the worker who stays in their post and continues to work while never saying a word. They aren’t watching TikTok videos on their phone instead of tending the CNC machine.

They don't orbit the plant "looking for parts" instead of tending the CNC. They never come back from lunch or a break late because they don’t go to lunch or take breaks.

Wordless Working is the worker who never calls off, takes a vacation, and only quits when there are no more parts to run.

Who is this worker?

Your RoboJob-USA, purpose-built, CNC machine-tending robot.

Think back to the BLS release.

Productivity decreased because hours worked increased more than output.

What happens to the output/labor costs ratio when you run the robot over lunch or overnight?

What happens to productivity when you spend 5 minutes entering the part dimensions and piece count into the software? Then you spend another 10 minutes loading the parts table.

You push the green button and go home for the evening.

You run a job for 13 hours straight. The job is complete when you get to the shop in the morning. What does that do for your productivity?

Would you sleep better knowing that the job was getting done right while you are crawling into bed?

What happens to your cash flow when you run jobs and can invoice quicker because you are getting the parts out the door, even if you are short-handed?

When happens to your peace of mind when getting new customers is easier because you can keep delivery promises?

When the BLS releases its report and says durable goods manufacturing has a productivity decrease, you smile and say, "Not here. Not on my watch!"

You can let the trends buffet other machine shops because you have “Wordless Working” working for you.

Take control of production and costs with your new RoboJob-USA robot.

When you are ready to take control and want to start the conversation, call us at 866-952-9020 and then press 1 to talk with a human.

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