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Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Confidence levels among manufacturing and logistics workers rebounded in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Randstad Manufacturing & Logistics Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. workers in this sector. The index rose to 50.5, an increase from 48.0 in Q4 2013. The quarterly survey, conducted by Harris Poll among 169 manufacturing and logistics workers on behalf of Randstad, also found workers’ job security rose with the majority (63%) of manufacturing workers feeling it is unlikely they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months, compared to 59% the previous quarter.
In addition, overall confidence in the strength of the economy grew for manufacturing workers this quarter. Two-in-five (39%) manufacturing and logistics workers believe the economy is getting weaker, a 12 percentage point decline from 51% in the last quarter of 2013. Also, more than a quarter of workers (26%) believe the economy is getting stronger.
“Despite the slowdown of the manufacturing sector early in the year due to winter weather challenges, the industry is beginning to show signs of anticipated growth in 2014,” said Traci Fiatte, Group President, Randstad Staffing. “For example, economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 11th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management, with this month’s Purchasing Managers’ Index registering at 54.9%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from March’s reading of 53.7%.
“Also, the Commerce Department reported that orders for factory goods in the U.S. rose 1.1% in the first quarter of 2014. These reports and others continue to support estimates that the economy is regaining momentum as spring emerges, and we would expect to see demand for talent within the manufacturing and logistics industry to follow suit.”
Q1 Survey Highlights
Manufacturing and Logistics Workers’ Confidence in the Economy Rebounds. Two-in-five (39%) manufacturing and logistics workers believe the economy is getting weaker, a 12 percentage point decline from 51% in the previous quarter. In addition, more than one-quarter (26%) believe the economy is getting stronger.
Job Availability Improves in First Quarter. Manufacturing and logistics workers who feel there are fewer jobs available declined from 55% in Q4 2013 to 50% in Q1 2014. Also, the number of manufacturing and logistics workers who believe there are more jobs available rose, climbing four percentage points to 25%.
Job Security Improves Significantly Among Workers. In the first quarter of 2014, there was a sharp decline in the number of manufacturing and logistics workers who feel it is likely they will lose their current jobs – dropping from 26% in Q4 2013 to 13%. In fact, the majority (63%) of manufacturing workers feel it is unlikely they will lose their jobs.
Employment Search: One in Three Workers Likely to Job Hunt. One out of three manufacturing and logistics workers said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. Additionally, 39% of workers feel confident in their ability to find new employment.