MFGWatch report shows growth, tariff concerns in manufacturing industry

PROVIDENCE – Material availability and a lack of skilled workers were cited as concerns, amid growth, by three hundred custom manufacturers and sourcing professionals in North America, according to a 2019 Manufacturing Report recently released by online manufacturing marketplace MFGWatch.

“Based on our data analysis, it’s our belief that 2019 will be a promising year for manufacturing and that business will continue to be strong along with the rest of the U.S. economy. There were some surprises in the survey findings, however, as well as some rising challenges that may slow progress,” said Ronald L. Hollis, president and CEO of MFG.

More than 44% of survey respondents said they plan to hire more workers and buy new technology this year to keep pace with demand. While 34% of buyers will focus more on technology infrastructure and not their workforce, the survey showed that 33% plan to increase both this year.

Survey results show 44% of suppliers are concerned about tariffs and 42% of buyers say tariffs and shipping costs are impacting their supply chains, according to an MFG news release.

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Tariffs are a new concern, emerging since the last MFGWatch report three years ago, and the growing skills gap is another challenge, according to many manufacturers.

Nearly 90% of buyers and sourcing professionals said in the recent survey that the U.S. is their company’s primary sourcing destination for manufacturing. Seventy-nine percent of those who are sourcing overseas have made no changes to bring production back to North America from companies that are cheaper, the report states.

Sixty-five percent of responding supplier companies said they received more work in 2018 than the year before, an increase from 40% in the MFGWatch 2016 survey results.

The complete 2019 report can be downloaded here.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.