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Manufacturers share industry expectations

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Manufacturers remain optimistic about the future, though their expectations are somewhat lower than they were earlier in the year, according to the Mid-Atlantic Steel Fabrication Manufacturing Activity Index.

A majority of companies expect their pipeline of projects to grow over the next six months, but the percentage forecasting growth slipped to 69.6 percent in June, down from 75.9 percent in March.

The Mid-Atlantic Steel Fabrication Manufacturing Activity Index is a quarterly measure of conditions and expectations in Central Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry. It serves as a snapshot of confidence among manufacturers and an indicator of the local economy’s future direction.

Responses for the second-quarter survey were collected between May 23 and June 16 from representatives of 48 manufacturing companies. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents, or 65.2 percent, had less than 100 employees.

Respondents were also asked what has been the most creative thing they have done to recruit and retain skilled workers. Here are some of their answers:

  • “Partnered with a technical school and sponsored students.”
  • “Hire the unskilled and train them to our needs. ‘Skilled’ workers typically are not.”
  • “Offer cash incentives to our workforce to identify qualified candidates.”
  • “I intentionally tried to scare off applicants by not sugarcoating the skills needed for an in-house IT position.”
  • “Bonuses, flex time.”
  • “Employee engagement through consistent communications, appreciation lunches, etc.”
  • “Word-of-mouth referral (good employee recommends family or friend).”
  • “Put an ad out to intentionally ward off unqualified persons.”

See more results from the survey in the slideshow below.

The next survey will take place in August and September, with results published in September. If you are interested in taking part, email lists@cpbj.com.


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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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