Manufacturing Hiring Outlook Promising for 2nd Quarter 2017

Hiring in Indiana will slow down in the second quarter, but opportunities abound for skilled factory workers, according to survey results released by Manpower and reported by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Data show 16 percent of respondents plan to increase staff levels in the three-month period beginning April 1, while 6 percent plan to reduce workforces. That results in a net employment outlook of 10 percent, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

That rate is a 33 percent drop from the first quarter’s 15 percent net employment outlook and lags behind second quarter 2016’s 14 percent.

Most Hoosier employers surveyed – 76 percent – expect to maintain workforce levels.

The national hiring outlook is almost twice the Indiana rate, with a net rate of 17 percent after adjustment for seasonal variations. Manpower officials described the national outlook as “relatively stable” compared to the previous quarter’s rate of 16 percent.

Michael Stull, senior vice president for Manpower North America, said many employers are being cautious while waiting to understand how the Trump administration’s policies will affect their businesses.

But demand is heating up for skilled factory workers, he said.

“We are also seeing an emerging positive outlook from manufacturing employers who are reporting some of the strongest hiring plans since the end of the recession,” he said in a statement. “The sector is showing signs of entering a renaissance period, transforming itself to be higher tech and data driven, stepping up to the increased global competitiveness.”

Carla Hanson, Manpower’s northeast Indiana area manager, said the same trend is playing out locally, where the market “continues to be extremely competitive.”

“The market is growing by leaps and bounds, particularly in the manufacturing sector,” she said in an email. “Talent continues to be scarce, particularly in the skill trades sector.”

Employers are also struggling with worker retention, she said.

As a result, Hanson said, some companies are adopting more flexible attendance policies, converting temporary employees to permanent status more quickly and rewarding workers for referring job applicants, hitting production targets and achieving perfect attendance.

Manpower’s quarterly survey of more than 11,000 employers in the U.S. includes companies in each of the 13 industrial sectors.

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