Like you, our talent acquisition business is tied to the manufacturing sector. The results of a recently released NAM Outlook survey indicate good news for all of us!
Manufacturing sector sales and capital spending are both anticipated to increase over the next 12 months, at the fastest rates recorded since mid-2011. Manufacturing sector employment is also trending upward. Survey respondents predict manufacturing sales growth of 5.2 percent over the next year, up from 4.5 percent in the previous release. More than 56 percent of those surveyed say their sales will rise by at least 5.0 percent over the next 12 months. Capital investments are anticipated to grow 3.4 percent over the next 12 months, up from 2.7 percent in September.
Manufacturing Sector Talent Acquisition
While survey data shows increasing confidence in the manufacturing sector, it also indicates a tightening labor market. Full-time employment is expected to rise 2.6 percent over the next year, up from 2.2 percent in the previous NAM Outlook survey. This is just shy of the 2.7 percent pace recorded in June, which was the fastest rate in the survey’s history. Nearly 62 percent of manufacturers anticipate increasing employment within their organizations over the next year, with 22.8 percent predicting a jump of at least 5 percent.
Along those lines, the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce topped the list of primary business challenges, with 72.9 percent of respondents citing talent acquisition as their biggest concern. This was closely followed by rising health care and insurance costs at 72.3 percent.
Tax Reform Well Supported
U.S. manufacturers are cautiously optimistic that comprehensive business tax reforms will soon be enacted. Just over three-quarters of respondents said they support the current tax proposals being debated in Congress, with 16.4 percent unsure. Nearly 63 percent of manufacturers say comprehensive tax reforms would encourage their company to increase capital spending, and more than half would expand their business (57.9 percent) and hire more workers (53.8 percent). A significant proportion of those surveyed would also increase wages and benefits (48.8 percent) for existing employees and invest more in their local community (34.7 percent).