Machining Demand Surges With Boom in U.S. Manufacturing


Hello again.

In this week’s Thomas Index, we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Precision Machining by users in the Thomas Network at

Precision Machining is a process in which a machine operator starts with a piece of material called a blank, which is typically metal and uses the machine for precise, controlled removal of materials to transform that blank into a finished product.

Machining encompasses a number of different manufacturing processes such as milling, turning, drilling, and tapping. It’s high-tech stuff; computer numerical control, or “CNC” machining involves computer programming and electromechanical devices for ultra-precise positioning of machining tools, to create incredibly complex surfaces and intricate geometries.

This is a core process used throughout the manufacturing industry, and our data shows a recent upward trend in sourcing for this service by users at

In fact, sourcing activity for Precision Machining has been increasing for the past five weeks running on our platform and was up 33 percent week-over-week just this past week.

Our data also shows similar sourcing trends in the related categories of Large CNC Machining and CNC Machining for Aircraft and Aerospace.

This trend correlates with a booming resurgence in U.S. manufacturing, which added 24,000 jobs in April alone according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, these strong employment numbers somewhat mask a significant challenge for the precision machining industry – that challenge being the shortage of skilled workers in the trade. In fact, the Bureau predicts that there will be a need for an additional 29,000 new machinists by 2024.

We spoke with Thomas client Tom Simeone of Manor Tool in Chicago, and he confirmed that there’s a definite imbalance with the work coming in during this boom and the skilled labor that’s available to get it done.

Tom is a great example of what the industry needs to do to address this skills gap. In addition to running Manor Tool, he’s a board member of MHUB, a Chicago based organization and state-of-the-art facility that provides access to advanced machining capabilities for young entrepreneurs and innovators. It’s a very proactive approach to developing the next generation of skilled manufacturing talent, and it’s the kind of thing that businesses and organizations throughout manufacturing need to do to meet this growing challenge.

Hey, here’s a look at the top ten products and services being sourced at over the past 4 weeks, and CNC Machining is right there at the top of the list, with the general category of “Machining” squeezing on the list at number ten.

  1. CNC Machining
  2. Steel
  3. Metal Stampings
  4. Injection Molded Plastics
  5. Metal Fabrication
  6. Lumber
  7. Contract Manufacturing
  8. Pumps
  9. Aluminum
  10. Machining

These are the top ten sourced categories out of over 60,000 industrial product and service categories on the platform, so there is a huge amount of opportunity happening there right now for suppliers in these and many other categories.

Well, that’s what our data shows this week. The best way to get this weekly Thomas Index report -- and other useful industry news – is to sign up for our daily Thomas Industry Update. You can do so by visiting

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.


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