By the numbers

Posted on May 15, 2017 :: By the Numbers
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

One of the earliest core missions of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance was to change the negative perceptions that had grown around manufacturing among students and
parents — perceptions that were an obstacle to attracting young talent to the industry. This past October, NEWMA conducted a localized version of a national survey done by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The results show the negative perceptions are fading. 

The results will serve as a benchmark for future surveys as NEWMA continues its education about the careers and conditions manufacturing can provide.

Expected growth of manufacturing activity, 2016 – 2017

Americans appear to be more optimistic about growth in recent months, and manufacturers are no exception. The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey shows manufacturers’ optimism at an all-time high in the survey’s nearly 20-year history. This corresponds with a pickup in manufacturing activity, as well as a rising confidence the new administration in Washington will bring much-needed regulatory relief — as well as reforms to the tax code and a significant infrastructure package.

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In this latest NAM survey, 93.3% of manufacturers were either somewhat or very positive about their own company’s outlook, up from 56.6 percent one year ago and 77.8% in December. The NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Index also soared to a new high, up from 53.3 in December to 63.7 in this report. It was the second-straight quarter where the outlook exceeded its historic average — which would equate to 50 in the index — and there were strong gains in confidence for all firm sizes. 

Keeping women on board: Retention drivers and perceived gaps

Opportunities for challenging assignments, work-life balance and attractive income are often the most important aspects of a woman’s career. Manufacturers seeking to retain talented women should consider aligning their employee policies to match these demands.

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