Optimism grows among Minnesota manufacturers

28 Jun 2018

The state of manufacturing is strong.

A full 93 percent of Minnesota manufacturers are financially confident about the future, which is just a hair off last year's high-water mark of 94 percent, according to a recently released survey by Enterprise Minnesota.

"There has never been as much energy in manufacturing as there is today," said the consulting firm's CEO, Bob Kill. "And that's a cool thing to say, because we face a lot of challenges."

Kill unveiled the results of the 10th annual State of Manufacturing survey Thursday morning at the Radisson Hotel Duluth to a crowd of economic development professionals that welcomed the good news but remained cognizant of the problems still plaguing the industry.

Chief among the challenges facing manufacturing and closely aligned industries are health care costs and recruiting workers to replace retiring Baby Boomers, according to the survey.

"We had to replace a third of our workforce — we hired about eight, 10 people in the past two years," said Bruce Mars, president of Conveyor Belt Service Inc. in Virginia. He said a good wage, scheduling flexibility and strong management "have been a good equation for us."

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