Contrary to the doomsayers, manufacturing in the U.S. isn't on the endangered list, at least for small and midsized business manufacturers (SMB). SMB manufacturers have added jobs and are more optimistic about their growth prospects, according to a snapshot survey on the general health of their businesses.
Hiring in the SMB sector has ticked up in the last six months, with 73 percent of SMB manufacturers reporting the addition of staff, according to a snapshot survey of 134 executives of SMB manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees. The survey was sponsored by SAGE, a supplier of business management software.
In a possible indication of future growth in this segment, a third of respondents also said they plan to add staff within the next six months while 53 percent intend to maintain the same level of employment over the next six months.
Looking at the next six months, 49 percent of SMB manufacturers said they believed new orders would increase, 47 percent felt that production would increase and 23 percent believed that inventories would increase.
While these respondents showed optimism about their own business prospects, they were not so positive about the overall economy. Only 27 percent believe that the economy will grow over the next six months, while 57 percent believe that the economy will stay the same. The remaining 16 percent believe that the economy will contract over this period.
"Manufacturing continues to play an important role in the American economy, and for this reason, we wanted to gauge the health and stability of this sector," said Joe Langner, SAGE executive vice president. "While the findings show slightly different outcomes than recent national reports, we're glad that our results seem to indicate that SMB manufacturers are hiring — and will continue to hire in the coming months — and that generally they're optimistic about their businesses."