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Although the manufacturing industry is rebounding from supply chain issues and workforce shortages, it is still growing. However, the industry is changing, spurring contractors, factory managers, and other leaders to shift in how they hire workers.

The State of Metal Fabrication

COVID-19, artificial intelligence, and other factors are changing the landscape, but metal fabricators are still in demand. These trends will continue shaping the industry in the near term. 

Post-Pandemic Recovery

In the past three years, welding and metal fabrication work has rebounded rapidly. Although it hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels yet, the industry bounced back to about 1.5 million jobs by the first quarter of 2023.

Metal fabricators are still in demand in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics sectors, among other sizable industries. Since employment levels haven’t fully rebounded yet, many companies are still searching for competent welding and metal fabrication workers. 


The COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions impacted global supply chains, and rising shipping and labor costs have led manufacturing companies to bring jobs back into their countries of origin. This practice is known as reshoring. Many manufacturing companies in the U.S. have found this practice to be more cost-effective than outsourcing. It also allows them to have a physical presence in the factory, giving them better oversight and quality control. 

As manufacturing companies opt to reshore their operations, they will need to tap into local talent pools.

Automation and Digitization

Like many other industries, manufacturing is starting to incorporate technology into metal fabrication. New tools like robotics and additive manufacturing allow companies to automate repetitive tasks. Instead of replacing human workers entirely, though, these tools enable human metal workers to focus on complex tasks, and they may also make the workplace safer. 

Digitization tools can help streamline workflows, eliminating paper drawings and enabling a centralized location to host designs and other pre-production documents. These tools also allow companies to better manage their inventory, purchase orders, and other paper documents. With streamlined processes, sheet metal fabricators can get to work more quickly, knowing they have what they need to complete the job. 

Many metal fabricators are up to date on automation and digitization technology and can work with these tools to boost their productivity. 

The Tradesmen International Solution to the Metal Fabrication Shortage

With manufacturing moving full speed ahead, you may be looking for skilled welding and metal fabrication needs for your projects. Tradesmen International can help you weather the labor shortage with our robust network of skilled individuals that work to your exact specifications. 

Rigorous Recruiting Practices

We’ve optimized our traditional recruiting practices, advertising strategy, and referral programs to attract the highest-caliber craft workers. Our process includes rigorous screening by recruiters with vast experience in the manufacturing industry who know what to look for. 

Candidates go through multiple comprehensive interviews and hands-on skills testing. We check references and validate credentials to offer the best talent pool. 

Constant Evaluation

Even after joining our talent pool, our skilled workers go through continuous evaluations. We keep only those who meet strict safety and quality standards. Our team includes more than 250 recruiters who are tasked with recruiting and onboarding craft professionals every day. We use a strict vetting process to find the best craft workers, and we offer and encourage skill and safety advancement opportunities. 

We work with skilled workers at all levels, from highly experienced, journey-level professionals to apprentice-level ability workers. 

Expedient Access to Top Workers

Whether our clients are planning their labor force in advance or need immediate fulfillment, we have the capabilities to meet their needs. While facing a manufacturing labor shortage, some companies may use a planned labor partnering strategy, knowing how many people they need for a project weeks or even months in advance. Others need metal fabricators to fill vacancies on the fly or supplement their full-time staff on a complete fabrication project. 

Our team of recruiters is responsive, asking questions that help us understand your needs and develop strategies to meet them. Each of our workers is committed to safety and comes to the jobsite with their own tools and personal protective equipment. You get a team that’s ready to work. 

Call Tradesmen International for Experienced Metal Fabricators When You Need Them

If you’re feeling the impact of the labor shortage, working with a staffing agency is the best solution. Call Tradesmen International to connect with a network of workers you can count on. Contact us today for an initial consultation. We’ll ask you some questions and determine your project needs to pair you up with the best metal fabricators for your team.

Devise a skilled staffing plan today

With a CORE + Flex skilled labor strategy, Tradesmen provides a no-cost labor productivity consultation.

We help contractors plan to run a lean staffing solution comprised of their core full-time workforce. 

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