Double Bonus! Guns And Ammo Spark Jobs Boom

Published on May 3, 2013

800px-Houston_Gun_Show_at_the_George_R._Brown_Convention_CenterDouble good news: there’s a job hiring boom among the companies that make those things that go “boom”. That’s right: the economy and second amendment rights strengthened all in one — pardon me — shot. Supply and demand and right to bear arms all vindicated? This story’s got it all! Details below …

Guns and ammo are selling briskly these days, and that means weapons makers are hiring. Some manufacturers are scrambling to find enough workers.

Mike Weddle, head of maintenance at Dynamic Research Technologies, an ammunition manufacturer in Albany, Mo., says he is adding 10 new hires to his staff of 35. DRT’s machine operators make between $10 and $17 an hour — a healthy paycheck in a region where it’s tough to find a job and the cost of living is relatively low.

DRT currently cranks out 80,000 bullets per shift and operates two shifts per day. But that’s not enough to meet demand. So Weddle is adding a third manufacturing shift and building an additional facility.

“Demand picked up a year ago — it quadrupled,” he said. “It just went crazy.” He says .223 caliber ammo, which is for semiautomatic rifles, is particularly difficult to keep in stock.

DRT is a tiny part of an industry that employs about 240,000 nationwide, according to an estimate from Brian Rafn, who follows the gun industry for Morgan Dempsey Capital Management. And like DRT, many of the giants in the business of making guns and ammo are also expanding.
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“Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson have both added manufacturing capacity, which includes labor and shifts, in the past year,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio.

Caleb Ogilvie, a concealed-carry instructor who works at Cabot Gun & Ammo in Cabot, Ark., said that employees at a nearby Remington plant in Lonoke are telling him that “they’re running full swing up there, running 24-7.”

The good news for Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Colt and Remington is that they’re based in regions of New England and upstate New York where manufacturing has vanished, leaving a labor pool that’s hungry for work, according to Dionisio. He said that many of the added jobs are “temporary, contract-type hires, as opposed to full-time, permanent hires” since the companies don’t know how long the surge in demand will last.

Read more: Guns And Ammo Spark Jobs Boom

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