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Vast majority of Minn. manufacturers expecting upbeat year

ST. PAUL – About 95 percent of Minnesota manufacturers are expecting production levels to increase or stay the same in 2018, according to an annual joint survey by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

The random survey of 269 Minnesota manufacturing operations was conducted in November.

“Manufacturing is the state’s largest industry by gross domestic project, supporting 318,000 Minnesota jobs and contributing $48.2 billion to the state’s economy,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “We must continue to support the manufacturing industry to ensure they have the tools, resources and workforce necessary to compete.”

Among other findings of the survey:

  • 94 percent expect employment levels to increase or stay the same.
  • 87 percent expect profits to increase or stay the same.
  • 96 percent expect productivity to improve or stay the same.
  • 85 percent expect investments in facilities and equipment to increase or stay the same.
  • 95 percent expect prices to increase or stay the same.

In a special question this year, manufacturers were asked about automation during the last year. Forty-five percent of respondents indicated they had increased automation to augment productivity, 29 percent to reduce labor cost, mitigate labor shortages and improve product quality, and 25 percent to improve work safety. Thirty-nine percent reported no increased automation.

The survey also found that manufacturers have a positive outlook for the state of Minnesota economy, with 95 percent expecting it to grow or stay the same in the coming year and 94 percent expecting statewide employment to increase or stay the same.

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