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General state of the welding industry?

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  • Woodweld1
    replied
    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.

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  • striker12300
    replied
    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.

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  • Big D
    replied
    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;

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39358539...ws-phoenix_az/

    Big D
    Last edited by Big D; 10-02-2010, 08:24 AM.

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  • turbo38t
    Guest replied
    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

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

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  • 1930case
    replied
    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.

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  • jessehornberger
    replied
    Jobs!

    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!

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  • deafman
    replied
    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 goes...it'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.

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  • jsm11
    replied
    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.

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  • shorerider16
    replied
    I guess I should qualify my statement by saying that that is the case where I live. Some regions will have different situations.

    In the lower mainland alone we have three well known institutions pumping out full classes of c level graduates , sometimes more than one, every year. Of course some of these graduates don't follow through with welding as a career, (some because they can't get work, others because they can't cut it) regardless, there are far more new tradesmen coming out of school than there are jobs available. This doesn't just apply to entry level, there are B level course running on a regular basis as well. From what I've seen at BCIT while taking my fab that there is no shortage of fresh workers coming up in all different trades, that place is busy all year long.

    Around here the whole story just seems like a big load of propaganda.

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  • 1930case
    replied
    I never got a break in the teaching field and am finding I may not get a break in welding either.
    The economy for entry-level anything is dead for at least a decade. If you are still young enough, join the military (USAF or Navy) and weld (or whatever) there. With your degree you could shoot for a commission and not shovel guano with the enlisted folks. The delayed enlistment program (it can take a while to get in) time is credited against pay date, which works nicely over time. Afterwards, you'll get paid to go get another degree (4-year G.I. Bill ride plus stipend to live on) so it's a win-win deal.
    The working conditions and benefits crush civilian jobs by comparison, and full medical with a retirement after 20 years (minimum) is unbeatable. I joined during the recession in 1981, had a (mostly) great time for 26 years, and haven't felt any economic speedbumps since.
    Teaching is doomed because no one wants to pay teachers, and while crafts have a solid future they don't have any benefits in most situations. It's either feast or famine, and if you didn't rathole enough cash for the famines you are SOL.

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  • jsm11
    replied
    I'm in Northern, Al - Huntsville to be exact.
    The jobs are advertised, but getting through the door is a different story.
    Work is slow.

    There are no SMAW hirings.
    There are a few MIG hirings for peanuts of course. Right around $9-13an hour.
    Anything in my neck of the woods requires you to be a combo welder, and those are few and far between.

    Most of the jobs listed for "newbies" are in the shipyards in South AL, or in South Mississippi. I have Family in MD, and am a skip away from trying to make a run up in the northeast in a shipyard.

    The quote about a shortage is true to an extent. The babyboomers are near retirement. Thus potentially leaving an appreciable gap in the crafts industry.

    The largest problems we face in the crafts is that we are not, and do not plan to build anything other than what is necessary in this country. We have become a country that does not produce, or manufacture.

    And we have a society where companies can neither afford nor desire to train. Which is why the local community colleges are killing it.

    I'm a recent graduate from our welding school. After getting my Bachelor's and finding there was little work in my desired field. I'd graduated with a teaching degree. I regrouped and aimed at the trades. I'm certified; smaw awsd1.1, smaw asme section ix, gtaw asme section ix, and with a few other qualifications thrown in to make what I feel is a rather nice assortment of skills. No one cares.

    Upon completion of my tig class I've found that I can't even get through the door because I do not have certs, or experience with stainless

    I've now invested 15k into my welding career, and am wondering if it'll ever takeoff. I never got a break in the teaching field and am finding I may not get a break in welding either.

    There is still light at the end of the tunnel.
    Yet, I don't know what direction to head.


    It is nice to hear that some regions are going strong.

    Good Luck to everyone....[/COLOR]
    Last edited by jsm11; 10-01-2010, 10:12 AM.

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  • c wagner
    replied
    Sask. seems steady, some guys are really busy other guys are just getting by.
    Interestingly enough over the previous 3 years the majority of welding decks and skids we made were for guys just getting into the portable welding business. This year we have been building more than normal, but they are all guys that have been portable welding for 5 plus years and are established in their niche.
    I anticipate 2011 will be more of the same, steady but not knock your socks off busy.

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  • shovelon
    replied
    As far as union work, I have been told that it is really bad times here in So. Cal.

    Non union welding jobs in manufacturing have collapsed here. Sheet metal shops and machine shops are very slow and a lot are still closing. The welding that went along with them are ending up in the one man machine and sheet metal shops by default. So I agree the one man shops can do well.

    The work coming into my shop are from those one man shops keeping me and my 2 welders pretty busy. But that is only because I layed off 3 welders since last year.

    One man weld concerns seem to be weathering the storm.

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  • welder_one
    replied
    i dunno, here in arkansas, i can count 6 of the local on site welding services that have pseudo retired, downsizing and handing off work to us younger fellas that are starting out... this is my busiest year to date, my busiest month at that too... the average wage for a shop welder is puny, so there arent many weldors out there and available, it just isnt popular to be a shop hand here. the gas wells that are going up around is keeping everyone runnin around like a one legged man in a butt whoopin contest

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