RV Manufacturers Need More Workers to Meet Demand

With the RV demand continuing to rise, some manufacturers are struggling to keep up. RV manufacturers are in need of more people power to keep up. The recreational vehicle business is only expected to grow, despite the labor shortage. 

RV manufacturers need more workers 

According to RV Business, demand for RVs keeps growing, but some manufacturers need more workers to keep up. RV manufacturers in Elkhart County, Indiana, are struggling to keep up, and the labor resources may be tapped out. 

The current unemployment rate for Indiana is 4.1-percent, but the average unemployment rate for the Hoosier area was 7.1-percent in 2020. However, manufacturing remains the primary source of unemployment claims in Elkhart. 

A Fleetwood Discovery is seen parked at the Boston RV & Camping Expo at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
A Fleetwood Discovery RV | Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Forest River Inc currently employs about 11,000 people with 30 divisions in manufacturing, including RVs, cargo trailers, pontoon boats, shuttle buses, and commercial trucks. They have 540 job openings on their site. RV giant Thor industry Inc. is responsible for 42 of those openings. 

But when the unemployment rate is under 4-percent, then economists agree that it’s close to full employment, meaning everyone who wants a job may have one. There could be an incredibly low rate of people who are involuntarily unemployed. 

Is there an RV shortage? 

RV manufacturers are facing a variety of issues, including supply shortages and labor shortages. According to WQAD, in 2020, sales were up by 55-percent compared to 2019. Plus, in 2019, sales were also up by 20-percent. 

While campers, travel trailers, and more are selling, supply shortages are bringing things to a crawl. Frames, refrigerators, hot water heaters, and other components that come from other companies are facing delays. 

RELATED: Why You’ll Regret Living in an RV Full Time

Terry Frazer, the owner of RV Center in Eldridge, Iowa shared, that when he would typically have 200 units for sale, he has less than 30. To keep up with demand, they are selling RVs before they have been built. 

He gets about 10 to 15 new units delivered a week, but they’re generally already spoken for. Also, they are selling about 150 units per month, which is double the amount compared to the previous year. 

Is buying a used RV a good idea? 

While RV manufacturers continue trying to attract workers by increasing wages and lowering restrictions, you could save with a used RV instead of waiting for a new one. The challenge may involve finding a used option, though. 

It may be challenging to find the type of RV that you want due to limited availability. If you find a good option, don’t be too hasty. According to AARP, you can check the RV’s history with rvchex.com

1990 Land Rover Defender 130 dream RV camper-truck conversion parked in a field
1990 Land Rover Defender 130 Camper | Osprey Custom Cars

By proving the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you’ll get a report about the vehicle’s history. It may include if the vehicle has been damaged, rebuilt, stolen, and more. It may also list manufacturer recall notices. 

Ask tons of questions about the condition, history, title, repair records, and more. Then take the RV for a spin. You’ll want to test drive the RV yourself and ride in it as a passenger to listen for noises and issues you may not notice while behind the wheel.