In a year that featured otherwise solid job growth, manufacturing stood out as one sector that lagged behind.

It’s not that the jobs aren’t there: There were still 477,000 open positions as of October, down less than 5% from the year-ago level, according to the Labor Department’s most recent data.

Instead, it’s more a case where the manufacturers themselves are having a harder time filling positions. The hire rate was down more than 18% as the industry struggles with a skills gap and a slowdown amid the pressure of the U.S.-China tariff battle.

“Until we have a better-trained, more-skilled workforce, which is not really out there, you’re going to have a lot of these positions open. It’s a challenge,” said Steve Rosen,

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