Report: Michigan’s Advanced Manufacturing Workforce At Its Highest Level Since 2006

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With nearly 700,000 workers employed in Michigan, last year marked the highest level of employment growth in the state’s advanced manufacturing industry, says a new report by Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) and the Workforce Intelligence Network in Detroit.

The organizations says this is the state’s highest advanced manufacturing employment number since 2006, and a nearly 30 percent increase from the middle of the Great Recession in 2009.

“Manufacturing demand and employment in Michigan continue to rise as the economy improves and employers expand operations here,” says Elliot Forsyth, a member of the Michigan LIFT State Team.

The quarterly report, which covers Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, found that Michigan added more than 28,000 advanced manufacturing jobs in the first quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the top five advanced manufacturing positions sought in Michigan job postings in the first quarter included: general maintenance and repair workers (3,564 postings); laborers and freight, stock and material movers (2,823 postings); mechanical engineers (2,279 postings); electrical engineers (2,113 postings); and production workers, (1,606 postings).

“There are jobs in Michigan to be had if you have the right skills and if you have the right education in the manufacturing field,” says Joe Steele, communications director at LIFT. “That’s why we want to encourage students to continue their STEM education, learn more about manufacturing, and to consider it as a career choice.”

To view the full report, visit: lift.technology/educationworkforce-development/.

IN RELATED NEWS, The National Association of Manufacturers today released the results of its second quarter 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which showed an uptick in overall sentiment. In the survey, 61.7 percent of manufacturers expressed positivity about their own company’s outlook, up from 56.6 percent who said the same thing in March. This marks the most optimistic manufacturers have been since December 2015.

“While this survey offers a bit of optimism for manufacturers, there is still a dramatic need for improvement before our sector can regain its footing,” says NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “This survey, coupled with the latest jobs report, should serve as a stark reminder to Congress that policy priorities, including market-opening trade agreements and comprehensive tax reform as well as addressing regulatory barriers, are top of manufacturers’ minds. If lawmakers in Washington take action on these and other items, they could help reverse the pain manufacturers are experiencing, expanding job opportunities and strengthening the broader economy as a result.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • “Red tape” continues to be a top business challenge. Three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed consider regulatory burdens to be one of the sector’s primary hurdles. In this survey, 82.6 percent of respondents said their company’s total spending on state and federal regulatory compliance had increased either modestly or substantially over the past few years. Furthermore, respondents cited capital investments and expenditures as the most likely use of funds if the cost of regulatory compliance were reduced.
  • Manufacturers continue to call for comprehensive tax reform. The vast majority of respondents listed lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent or less (74.3 percent), making permanent an enhanced research and development (R&D) incentive (61.2 percent) and enacting robust capital cost-recovery provisions (55.0 percent) as chief components of comprehensive tax reform that would make their business more competitive.

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