Index shows manufacturing remains strong

Posted on Dec 7, 2011 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

Northeastern Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector remains strong, according to the Northeastern Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance 2012 Manufacturing Vitality Index.

For 2012, manufacturers are planning for sales growth, capital investments and additional hiring. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated they expect their company’s financial health in the next six to 12 months to be healthy or quite healthy.

The 2012 Manufacturing Vitality Index builds on the strengths of the 2011 baseline analysis. Manufacturing accounts for 23 percent of the region’s economic base so the sector’s health plays an integral role in the region’s overall economic picture.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the index’s key areas:

Manufacturing business growth: 63 percent reported increased sales in 2011 and expectations for new sales growth in 2012 are even higher. Much of the coming year’s growth is expected to come through increased ordering among established clients, with most orders filled through new production. One area of concern, however, remains production and materials costs.

Plant expansion and moderation: Twenty-one percent of firms plan a significant expansion in the next 12 to 24 months. Many companies are also in the midst of a current expansion.

Workforce growth and recruitment: Hiring expectations remain strong with 43 percent of respondents planning to hire new personnel in the first quarter of 2012, with an additional third planning to add staff over the course of the years. The study found that firms remain divided in their ability to attract appropriate talent, with companies who rely on highly skilled and technically-trained staff reporting the most difficultly finding workers. Skilled trade areas, such as CNC machining and specialized welding, remain high in demand.

For more information about the index, visit the Alliance’s website at