NDT Jobs Market Stays Ahead of Economy

Want a preview of what the economy will look like six months from now? Some people believe the stock market is a good indicator of future economic activity. But I think a more accurate measure of future growth can be found in the hiring trends within the NDT industry.

Since the beginning of 2012 we have seen hiring activity in NDT and quality inspection expand every month. This growth has been led by permanent, full-time positions, indicating an expectation of a continued need for testing and inspection.

Can the hiring of a Level II NDT engineer by a California aircraft manufacturer really predict the direction our economy will take in 2013? Let’s look at the facts.

  • The NDT industry continues to grow and expand, with an unemployment rate of 5.5% – almost three percentage points lower than the national unemployment rate.
  • NDT employment has improved steadily since October 2010, when the industry’s unemployment rate was 7.5%.
  • This improvement in job growth (2%) has outpaced the rest of the economy.

NDT is outperforming other industries because of the essential role quality inspection and nondestructive testing plays in core industries like manufacturing, power, petrochemical, transportation and infrastructure. A greater need for nondestructive testing indicates an acceleration of activity in those key industries, leading to increased productivity and greater overall economic activity.

In the meantime, the need for additional NDT professionals is good news for those in the job market, but poses a challenge for those seeking to hire them. As demand goes up, so will salaries. And, while many people who left the NDT industry during the downturn are returning to fill open positions, competition for experienced and certified technicians is heating up.

The overall picture for the NDT job market is a positive one. And that should mean better news for the national economy is just around the corner.