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  September 2nd, 2015 | Written by

Confidence Levels Among Manufacturing and Logistics Workers Continues to Rise

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  • 37 percent of U.S. manufacturing workers say there are more jobs available.
  • Lower costs associated with reshoring are driving more local manufacturing activity.
  • Aggressive hiring in U.S. manufacturing sector is imminent.

An index which measures the confidence of manufacturing and logistics workers in the United States rose by nine percent since the end of 2014.

The Randstad Manufacturing & Logistics Employee Confidence Index (ECI) rose from 55.9 at year-end 2014 to 60.8 points in mid-year 2015, for the second straight wave of growth in the ECI among this group. The ECI stood at 53.3 one year ago.

The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll among manufacturing and logistics workers, measures workers’ perceptions regarding the strength of the economy, availability of jobs and personal employment prospects.

Randstad’s mid-year 2015 findings indicate confidence levels among workers in this sector continue to trend upward.

The mid-year report found 38 percent of manufacturing workers believe the economy is getting stronger, and 37 percent say they believe there are more jobs available. As confidence in the overall state of the economy and availability of jobs continues to rise, Randstad’s findings indicate workers’ personal confidence levels are also rising: 63 percent of workers say it is unlikely they will lose their jobs over the next 12 months. Thirty-eight percent say it is likely they will look for another job.

Several macro trends are fueling growth within U.S. manufacturing, and other technological developments are drastically changing the way plants operate. The CSC Global CIO Survey: 2014-2015 found 81 percent of manufacturers feel big data has a positive effect on production and efficiency, and 65 percent believe big data will be a strategic business driver moving forward. Lower costs associated with reshoring are driving more local manufacturing activity, and capital investments are rising.

Still, hiring activity within the manufacturing sector has been fairly slow thus far in 2015. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment summary, manufacturing employment edged up only slightly in July by adding 15,000 new jobs due to an increase of 23,000 jobs in nondurable goods.

“Many experts predicted 2015 would bring robust growth and expansion for the manufacturing sector, and so far that appears to be the case,” said Traci Fiatte, Group President, Randstad US. “We’re witnessing a growing supply of natural gas in the U.S., which provides more affordable energy for factories and new opportunities for products and services.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that high shale gas recovery and low prices could add one million U.S. manufacturing jobs and reduce natural gas costs by up to $11.6 billion annually through 2025, Fiatte noted.

“While we haven’t seen an aggressive rise in hiring activity thus far in 2015,” Fiatte added, “we believe it’s imminent. Our mid-year 2015 survey indicates confidence levels among manufacturing workers continue to rise and they are becoming increasingly more confident in the economy, availability of jobs, as well as their personal employment situations.”