Midwest manufacturers remain optimistic

The Technology & Manufacturing Association manufacturers continue to be optimistic about the industry, a survey in February showed.

“It’s great to see Midwest manufacturers staying optimistic about American manufacturing through this last year of emotional highs and lows,” Dennis LaComb, TMA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, told TMA News.

Anytime industry leaders staying positive in the 80% neighborhood is good for the region and the industry, LaComb said.

Those surveyed over the past year showed their least positive outlook a year ago, at 62%. Since then the mood has hovered near the 80 percent region – and unusually good time for manufacturers.

“Everyone tells us they’re busy, and when they’re busy, we know manufacturers are happy,” LaComb said.

The main points of pain those surveyed over the past year told TMA is the continuing challenge of finding skilled workers – especially in a very tight labor market.

In February, the lack of skilled workers affected 44% of those surveyed, down from the 64% in November 2018 and up from the 36% in December 2018.

TMA members said they expected growth in sales, employment and capital spending in the next 12 months. Six out of 10 surveyed said they expect to hire more over the next year.

TMA’s monthly surveys are conducted in person over the phone.