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U.S. Manufacturers to Increase Hiring, Capital Spending

Posted By Jeff Moad, January 23, 2015 at 3:38 PM, in Category: Manufacturing Advocacy

Inspired by what they see as an improving economy, U.S. manufacturers say they plan to increase hiring and spending on capital equipment and operations.

Those were the findings of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Manufacturing Barometer study for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The survey, which is based on interviews with 60 senior executives from large, multinational U.S.-based manufacturing companies, found that 60% plan to add to their workforce over the next 12 months, up from 52% who said so in the third quarter.

The survey also found that 43% plan to increase capital spending over the next 12 months, up from 36% who said so in the third quarter. And 82% said they plan to increase operational spending over the same period, up from 69% in the third quarter and up from 73% in the fourth quarter of last year. The most popular items for which manufacturers are increasing operating spending, according to the survey, are the introduction of new products or services, research and development, information technology, and geographic expansion.

Fifty-seven percent of manufacturers told PwC their companies are at full operating capacity (based on personnel and operating resources.) That compared to 41% who said so in the third quarter, and 35% who said so in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Driving those expected spending and investment increases are more upbeat views on the economy among manufacturers. Sixty-eight percent said they are optimistic about prospects for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months, up from 57% in the third quarter. And 38% said they are even optimistic about the world economy, up from 30% who said so in the third quarter. Positive feelings about the world economy, however, still trail levels of a year ago when 47% expressed optimism.

Although most manufacturing executives told PwC they plan to increase hiring, many appear concerned about their prospects for finding new workers with the required skills. Two thirds of manufacturers said they have open positions they are unable to fill with experienced or skilled employees.


Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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