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Survey finds manufacturers more certain of future

  • Associated Press
  • May 26, 2014 - 1:30 PM

BRAINERD, Minn. — A new business survey finds Minnesota manufacturers are generally more confident about their financial future but not so certain about the state's business climate.

The sixth annual "The State of Manufacturing" research project by Enterprise Minnesota shows that while manufacturing executives are bullish about the road ahead, they're concerned about finding qualified workers. Ninety-seven percent of the executives surveyed expected to maintain or expand their workforce in the coming year.

Bob Kill, president and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota recently presented the findings at Central Lakes College, the Brainerd Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/1tFKEyH ). Enterprise Minnesota has been conducting similar briefings at 13 cities through June — from Eveleth to Alexandria to Winona. The results were obtained from phone interviews with 400 manufacturing executives, representing a geographically proportional cross-section of Minnesota.

"It is clear that Minnesota's manufacturers are more confident about their future today than they have been at any point since the start of the recession," Kill said. "The looming concern, however, is that many manufacturers are having difficulty finding qualified workers to remain competitive and sustain their growth. This challenge is significantly acute in greater Minnesota."

Fifty-one percent of the executives surveyed view Minnesota's business climate as unfavorable, the highest total since 2010. Taxes, regulations and "policy uncertainties" are viewed as negatively affecting their company's growth. Rising health care and insurance costs are seen as the next largest threat.

Enterprise Minnesota is a consulting organization working with medium-size and smaller manufacturers.

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