Survey: Manufacturers Optimistic About 2015

Survey: Manufacturers Optimistic About 2015

Production is looking better, but questions linger about wages.

Manufacturers across the state predict an increasingly rosy picture, according to a new survey.
 
The Manufacturing Business Conditions Survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development found that more than 90 percent of businesses expect exports and employment levels to increase or stay the same.
 
“Manufacturers have a positive outlook for their industry and for the state’s economy in 2015,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement. “In terms of new jobs, Minnesota’s manufacturing industry is growing at more than double the national pace, and the continued positive expectations from industry leaders reflect added confidence for the coming year.”
 
The survey matches a similar finding by Manufacturers News Inc. that Minnesota saw a net gain of over 8,000 jobs in the field last year, or about 1.7 percent. The biggest gain was in furniture and fixtures. Lumber, stone/clay/glass and fabricated metals also realized improvements.
 
“Manufacturing employment continues to pick up speed,” MNI present Tom Dubin said in a statement. “The statement’s winning mix of educated labor force, solid infrastructure, diverse economy, advantaged technology and business-friendliness continue to draw investment and boost employment.”
 
DEED’s survey also shows high confidence in increased investment, productivity and profits across the manufacturing sector.
 
Not mentioned in the survey is whether the trends will lead to increased wages. Average weekly wages in the field dropped nearly 9 percent between the first and second quarter of 2014, the most recent data available on DEED’s website.
 
Minnesota was recently ranked by company supply managers as the second-best state for business conditions.