IBJNews

Survey say Indiana manufacturers see improvements

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Most of Indiana's small- to medium-size manufacturers have weathered the recession and are expecting modest growth through 2015, a survey released Thursday found.

The Indiana Manufacturing Survey found that while 55 percent of respondents were involved in moderate to aggressive downsizing the past two years, 78 percent were planning at least moderate expansion in 2011-12, and that number increased to 85 percent by 2013-15.

"Finally, optimism is back," said Mark Frohlich, a professor of operations management at Indiana University who co-authored the survey.

He said that optimism shows in the fact that 60 percent of the manufacturers planned to increase investment in areas essential for revenue growth. It isn't resounding optimism, however. Respondents see 2011-12 as a period of slow improvement. Only 19 percent expect rapid growth.

Pat Kiely, president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association, said that's because manufacturers are concerned about next year's presidential election, whether the so-called super committee can agree on $1.2 trillion in federal government spending cuts before the end of the year and about what's happening in Europe.

"If they start heading into recession it is going to have a slowing impact here over the next year," Kiely said.

The report, commissioned by the certified public accounting firm of Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP, said Indiana manufacturers are at a crossroads in terms of strategic direction. It said manufacturers need to make the best of the new economy.

"This is a race that we cannot afford to lose because the outcome will likely determine the success of Indiana, if not our country, in the global economy for years to come," the report says.

The report said Indiana manufacturers need to be prepared for a second manufacturing revolution that Frohlich describes as "smart manufacturing," or what President Barack Obama called a "renaissance in American manufacturing" in June.

"It involves heavy automation and getting your workers involved," Frolich said.

The report compared changes in manufacturing to maneuvering across a battlefield while under constant attack, saying manufacturers must always be transforming and competing.

The report also found that 11 percent of survey respondents plan to open new manufacturing facilities in the next two years and 13 percent of respondents reported they anticipate relocating some manufacturing that had been moved offshore back to America in the next several years. The report didn't discuss the number of manufacturing jobs that could be created.

Indiana had an unemployment rate was 8.9 percent for September, slightly below the national rate of 9 percent.

Jerry Conover, director at the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, said manufacturing jobs played a key role in helping Indiana after the Great Recession ended in June 2009, when it had had 426,500 manufacturing jobs and a 10.7 percent unemployment rate.

By July 2010, that number of manufacturing jobs grew to 450,700 and unemployment was 10.2 percent. Since then, though, manufacturing jobs have stagnated, dropping to a low of 446,600 in November 2010 and hitting a high of 454,700 this past July. The state had 453,600 manufacturing jobs in September, the latest numbers available.

"When the recession ended, we were starting to see substantial gains in manufacturing and it was helping lead the way for Indiana's growth in the first year or so after the recovery started. But since then, it's kind of been meandering," Conover said.

Most of the respondents said they expect the future business climate to remain financially challenging.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

ADVERTISEMENT