jobs boom

Guns and ammo sales spark jobs boom

by Aaron Smith, CNN Money  |  published on March 26, 2013

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.

“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.

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