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General state of the welding industry?

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  • #16
    Thanks for the tips.....

    And to add to the post above.
    The school I attended for welding rolls through three classes a year.
    My school is the only one in the area that actually can certify.
    Averaging 15 students at the beginning of class and around half at the end.

    So, maybe 15 students overall out of the total 45 that enroll during the year will make it through pipe.

    And myself and another are the only people to take GTAW asme section IX here in at least five years.

    There are not as many making it through to the end.

    Maybe we have an overabundance or people that weld at a minumum?
    And possibly the shortage will come at the higher skilled positions?

    But, I cannot keep coming out of pocket for schooling. I am making payments on my Masters, and welding right now. I make too much to qualify for free/government financed schooling like my classmates did because I actually work, and attend school. Apparently 17k a year puts me in an income bracket where I do not need schooling assistance.

    I need a company that wants to train and develop skills for the mutual benefit of the individual and the company.
    I do not mind starting at the bottom and working my way up.
    Last edited by jsm11; 10-01-2010, 03:03 PM.


    • #17
      Layoffs are still happening

      Last week the company I work for transferred 1/2 of the welders to help out in powder coating. If powder coating slows down those 3 guys will probably find themselves in the unemployment line or working 2 days a week.
      As far as the welder shortage's BS. Wages for MIG welders in fab shops have been stuck in the $10 to $16 an hour range for years. If the shops paid $2 an hour more they would have far less turnover and workers would think of staying with the company. Some of the guys leave in the summer because it's too hot or some other excuse and work in a warehouse for the same pay.
      Last edited by deafman; 10-01-2010, 02:20 PM.


      • #18

        Last week I just got a job TIG welding! I only start at $13.00 an hour, but being 23 and new to the welding industry I am ok with that. I am on 10 hour days 6 days a week. Also this was the first job I put a resume in for, had an interview the next day and was hired. Michigan manufacturing is picking back up!
        Miller Syncrowave 200
        Miller Spectrum 875 Plasma Cutter
        Miller Milermatic 135
        Ridgid Drill Press
        Ridgid Chop Saw
        36" Metal Break
        Harris Toarches
        English Wheel
        Ingersoll Rand, 18.1 cfm Compressor
        30 gal. Sand Blaster
        Planishing Hammer
        150lb Anvil
        10" Swing Logan Lathe


        • #19
          I work at a welding school, and IMO low grad rates are due to vo-tech being a dumping ground. Workforce retraining funded by the government pays for a lot of the tuition and many people who don't really love metal hear rumors about the wages and sign up. People who can't do academic classes and don't know how HARD you need to work at welding often get their feelings hurt.
          We DO get some grads that make big money, but that means going on the road and staying on the road for a long time to get experience.

          Our course is pure welding, nothing else, no theory, no print reading, just 19 weeks of MIG/Stick/TIG. The goal is to comfortably pass 6G pipe, then hit the road to wherever the jobs are. It works for the dedicated.

          Succeeding is about passing the employers test then welding your a$$ off. If a job opens five states away, drive there to test and get in the door. Be hunting your next gig before the one you are doing ends.


          • #20
            That's what he said.... No shortage of jobs here.... Pipe guys or structural... $30 plus per hour.

            Dynasty 300DX
            Esab PCM 1000


            • #21
              Well, I work in the ironbound section of Newark, NJ. A tunnel boring(for NYC) company to be exact. We are the highest paid 825(operating engineers) shop in the state. We are hurting now. They laid off 4 of 7 welders last Friday and one of the 5 mechanics. They told me it was "trimming the fat". Anyways, I am a Tig, Mig, Stick guy and I am also a mechanic and I took the time to learn CNC and the plasma table over the past couple years. I am also the only one who does maching. It's helped for now but it won't help if the whole shop closes. Right now "A" guys are making 33.63/hour and local job ads are listing $10-20 to start. .....not good. I' m tellin all the new guys, if you can, learn all trades and also, learn to trade stocks short term, it's working out alot better for me than welding to be honest. Dave


              • #22
                Many times I wonder what is going on in the welding industry and economy in other states. Living here in Phoenix Arizona I can tell you it is very bad. Many shops have closed and more continue to fold on a weekly basis. The few that are hanging on have no debt and have been in business for 15 years or more. We also have illegals from Mexico in the wrought iron business to compete with. You see the same senario keep repeating , the shops cut their labor force, cut their rates, try to sell off excess equipment, and then go under.

                I don't believe for a minute the 9.7% AZ unemployment number that the government provides. It seems the homeless ranks are starting to be filled with 4 year degree college educated people here in Arizona. Also according to the government Arizona is now the #2 state with the highest poverty rate.

                This article came out in the local newspaper last week;


                Big D
                Last edited by Big D; 10-02-2010, 08:24 AM.
                Miller Dynasty 300
                Millermatic 252 / 15 A Spool Gun
                Hypertherm Powermax 85
                Passport Plus Spoolmate 100


                • #23
                  I work in a specialty fab shop in central Wisconsin. We went back on 5 days a week, about 2 months ago. It was mainly 4 day weeks, sometimes 3 for the last year and a half before that. We laid 3 guys off but called one back. We should be able to work 40's the rest of this year, but I don't know about next year yet. I have talked to a couple guys who have been on and off the last couple of years, but nothing steady. Just enough to get by.


                  • #24
                    In the Mid-West

                    There is work out here but you cant be a one trick pony, you must do top of the line work, and must be willing to work 6-7 days a week. It is also a good idea to have a real handle on you finances, and know exactly where your money is going at all times. Remember in the real world those degrees are nothing more that a pc of paper that "MIGHT" get you in the door, As an employer I would much rather have an experenced worker over one with a degree. Like I tell my kids you'll never see a boxer win a fight using a degree, when it all comes down to it, what you claim to know doesn't matter, the only thing that matters is what you can do.