2019 Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Survey Results Are In – Here’s What You Can Expect
By Jonathan Shoop, Partner, Assurance Services
What are the concerns and challenges of manufacturing companies in Northeast Ohio? How do they perceive opportunities and issues confronting them in 2019? Where are they allocating time, money and resources, and what is their rationale?
These and other questions are the focus of the 2019 Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Survey Report. This year’s survey, conducted from November 2018 to January 2019, was in partnership with Marcum, MAGNET and The Corporate University, Kent State University at Stark. Thanks to our sponsors: Purolator International, Oswald Companies and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The survey polled 530 of the state’s small and midsize manufacturing executives on a variety of topics, including the availability of skilled labor, challenges associated with workforce development, planned investments and prospects for pursuing expansion in Ohio and beyond. Marcum’s report focuses on specific results from the 381 Northeast Ohio manufacturers who were surveyed.
Additionally, data was selectively compared to results from the Leading Edge Alliance’s 2019 National Manufacturing Outlook and Insights report for additional context in understanding how regional results compared to national trends.
Overall, growth in manufacturing strengthened in 2018, and respondents indicated optimism for continued growth and expansion for their businesses in 2019. Increased revenues and workforce numbers signaled widespread optimism among respondents, which is highly encouraging. Thirty-nine percent reported that revenues were up 10% or more; 30% reported revenue increases of 5% or more; and nearly 20% reported that their full-time workforces grew 10% or more. Moreover, nearly half expect to grow their workforce during 2019, and 78% expect increased gross revenues in 2019. These numbers generally align with what we hear from many of our clients about projections for 2019.
That said, respondents are somewhat more pessimistic about macroeconomic conditions in 2019, and they continue to face many of the same challenges that have persisted for years—most notably, a skilled labor shortage and rising health care costs.
The survey also revealed surprising findings regarding the slow pace of technology adoption among Northeast Ohio manufacturers. This stands in sharp contrast to national trends that indicate widespread adoption of new and emerging technologies.