Manufacturing companies are struggling to find enough people who can program and run the high-tech machines that cut metal and plastic components. But these precision manufacturing jobs are also among the highest-paying. Though the total number of jobs is expected to shrink in the next decade, demand for these skills is expected to remain strong.

Median Minnesota Projected

hourly pay employment change,

2009-2019

CNC* machine $25.49 510 -17.1%

tool programmers

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development. Data through 3Q 2011. * CNC: computer numerical control