Tour of Manufacturing 3

Kelly Moore, a finisher at Navitor Specialty Products unfolds a large banner at the the company’s facility in North Mankato. Navitor gave tours to students and others as part of last year’s Tour of Manufacturing.

With employers scrambling more than ever to find workers, highlighting modern manufacturing with its good pay and benefits is a way for companies to attract more employees.

On Thursday and Saturday area residents can visit a number of plants during the annual Tour of Manufacturing. Similar to a “parade of homes,” students, job seekers and the general public can stop by featured plants throughout the day for tours.

The tours run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

There are dozens of firms in the area opening their doors to visitors, including Cambria and Michael Foods in Le Sueur, Johnson Outdoors and Dotson Iron Castings in Mankato and Itron in Waseca.

For a full list go to: greatermankato.com/tour-manufacturing.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan kicked off Manufacturing Week Monday by touring plants in the Twin Cities.

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development this week released its job vacancy survey showing job vacancies rose to a record 146,513 in the second quarter. There are more job openings now than there are unemployed people to fill them.

The food service industry had the highest number of vacancies at more than 22,000, followed by sales occupations at 18,000.

Transportation, office and administrative support and personal care services ranked next, all with more than 10,000 openings.

In DEED’s designated southwestern Minnesota, which includes the Mankato region, the highest number of job vacancies are in agriculture, with 1,300 openings, followed closely by the personal care and food service sectors.

DEED officials said the number of jobs has expanded in the state, further fueling the tight labor market.

“These figures continue to suggest strong hiring demand statewide, with more people now available to fill these open positions,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement.

The unemployment rate in Minnesota is currently 3.3%, below the national rate of 3.7%.

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