Workforce issues remain top of mind for manufacturers

Workforce issues remain top of mind for manufacturers

(Biz Times, 7/24/17)

Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector has been trending in a positive direction through the first half of 2017. Hiring is up, wages are pushing higher and surveys of business optimism have been at their highest points in two years.

“It’s really hard to find something negative in this environment,” said Doug Fisher, director of the Marquette Center for Supply Chain Management.

Many manufacturers entered 2017 optimistic about what a Trump administration and Republican control of Congress would mean for the industry. Fisher pointed out that regardless of how someone feels about plans for health care, tax or regulatory reform, or a massive infrastructure package, those policy changes would likely benefit manufacturers.

While significant changes to those areas have yet to become a reality, business has continued to be strong for manufacturers. The Milwaukee-area PMI produced by Fisher’s center each month jumped from the low 50s to nearly 60 at the start of the year and has averaged 59 over the past six months. The survey-based index is a measure of manufacturing activity in the region, and a reading of greater than 50 indicates growth in the sector.

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