Vermeer Exec: Workforce, Supply-Chain Roadblocks Hindering Growth

Vermeer AX17 brush chipper throws debris into a trailer

So, can we call it a recession yet? Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2022, marking the second consecutive quarter that the U.S. economy shrunk.

Pella, Iowa-headquartered manufacturing company Vermeer recently told NBC News that the company would be contributing more to the GDP if it could find the components and people necessary to keep up with record demand for its agriculture, construction and forestry equipment.  

“This particular chipper is missing this one part,” said Mark Core, Vermeer executive vice president, standing in a lot full of sold equipment waiting to be shipped. “There may be 1,000 parts in a machine, but it needs all 1,000. Missing one part means you don’t generate revenue as an organization, and it doesn’t fit under the GDP number.”

While the company has more than 4,000 employees, Core says, it’s not enough. “We need more. We need hundreds more to keep up with demand.”

Other manufacturers are feeling the same strain. On an April visit to Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Wacker Neuson, Equipment World staff also saw areas of the manufacturing facility dedicated to equipment waiting for parts, as well as surplus parts that were purchased while the manufacturer could secure them. 

Meanwhile, President Biden tried to quell fears at a recent press conference, telling reporters, “We’ve created 9 million new jobs so far since I’ve become president. Businesses are investing in America at record rates. That doesn’t sound like a recession to me.”

To view the full interview, visit NBC News.