Manufacturing executives are feeling bullish about the U.S. economy, and they’re ready to prove it. In a recent survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), 68% of respondents reported that they’re optimistic about the American economy’s prospects for 2015. That’s an 11% increase from the last time PwC checked the Manufacturing Barometer, a quarterly survey of 60 senior executives at multinational manufacturers.
Optimism is important, but many of these manufacturing leaders plan to match their attitudes with actions. Of those surveyed, 60% say that their companies plan to increase their workforce this year. Over 50% plan to offer new products or services, while more than 40% anticipate new capital investments. Operational spending and research and development budgets are also expected to grow.
For job seekers, having the right skills matters. According to the PwC survey, nearly 80% of manufacturing leaders say they plan to hire skilled workers in 2015. That’s not surprising since a nearly equal percentage (75%) of executives reported gaps in skilled labor at their companies. There are also ample opportunities for middle managers, with over 40% of executives reporting a skills gap at this managerial level.
Although the Manufacturing Barometer did not indicate that a shortage of skilled workers is an obstacle to growth, there are other impediments to the resurgence of American manufacturing. Legislative uncertainty, regulatory pressures, lack of demand, and pessimism about the global economy could undermine long-term confidence.
Today, however, America’s top manufacturing executives are excited about 2015. Nearly 20% now plan to develop facilities abroad, and that’s double the percentage from the last time PwC conducted its quarterly survey. Is your New York State manufacturing company positive about its prospects, too?