Nightly News | March 08, 2012
>>> we turn now to the economy. and as we await the jobs report for february, widely anticipated coming out tomorrow morning, by the way, even with so many americans still unemployed, some companies, manufacturers in particular, are having trouble finding workers. our report tonight from cnbc's phil lebeau.
>> reporter: at the mazac corporation outside cincinnati there's a shortage of welders. in fact, the company that makes metal-cutting machines has been unable to fill 20 welding jobs that start at $33,000 a year. so mazak is now offering a $2,500 signing bounty to new hires.
>> offering bounties was one of the fastest ways we could go in order to attract people.
>> reporter: over the last two years american manufacturers have hired more than 400,000 workers. at the same time the number of manufacturing jobs unfilled has more than doubled to 264,000. the problem? a lack of applicants with the skills or education to run or build machines that are more complex.
>> manufacturing is coming back and growing in america. i think our young people should give that a consideration when they choose a career.
>> reporter: there was a time when blue-collar jobs were a ticket to the middle class . but after years of seeing companies downsize or ship plants overseas for cheaper labor, the allure of working in a factory had faded. with many manufacturers struggling to find skilled blue-collar workers, their current employees are working more overtime, taking home bigger paychecks.
>> we're working two full shifts here, five and six days a week. occasionally, we'll even work on a sunday.
>> reporter: omax corporation outside seattle has 13 openings for jobs starting between $35-5,000 and $50,000 a year. but in a sign of the times the company's ceo is not optimistic he'll fill those jobs anytime soon. phil lebeau, abc news, kent, washington.