Manufacturing Update – March 2017

March 24, 2017

Hopefully the Spring thaw is upon us!  The continuing good news from the Federal Reserve Board in Philadelphia—the index for current manufacturing activity has been positive for eight straight months—confirms what we’re hearing on the street from our clients: We’re busy!  And the index for future general activity is at its highest reading since August 2014. Both good signs.

For those interested in the sector’s outlook on labor and skills issues, the Business Outlook’s Special Questions this month are worth noting: 60.3% of the respondents report a significant labor shortage and 67.6% see a mismatch between labor supply and demand.  The top two actions being taken to deal with these challenges are to step up recruiting efforts (77.9%) and to provide additional training to staff (54.4%).  Competition for talent has been and will be fierce as we are still showing over 2,500 on-line job postings for our region.

We’re also very pleased to be among those in the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership network selected to work with one of the Manufacturing USA Institutes—America Makes, the Institute focused on 3D Printing.  Over the next 18-24 months we’ll be learning about the analytical and technical capabilities of that Institute to identify which among their advanced manufacturing technology assets and capabilities might be of value to our small and medium-sized manufacturing clients, including workforce development and training programs and certifications.  We’ll keep you posted on this project as we enact our work plan.

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