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Confidence among manufacturing and logistics workers dips in Q3

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Confidence among manufacturing and logistics workers dips in Q3

However, sense of job security increases.

According to a recently released survey from Randstad and Harris Poll, confidence among manufacturing and logistics workers fell in the third quarter from their all-time highs in Q2.

The Randstad Manufacturing & Logistics Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. workers in this sector, dropped to 53.2 in Q3 2014, a 2.8 point decline from 56.0 in the second quarter of 2014. The quarterly survey, conducted by Harris Poll among 167 manufacturing and logistics workers on behalf of Randstad, also found workers' optimism around the strength in the economy, the number of available jobs and their own ability to find employment declined.

"The industry's skills gap remains a top concern among business leaders."

However, manufacturing and logistic workers' sense of job security improved substantially this quarter, with more than seven-in-10 (71%) feeling it is not likely they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months, a 13 percentage point increase from last quarter. However, more than a third (36%) of workers say it is likely they will seek out new employment in the next year.

"It's clear by our own survey findings and economic indicators that manufacturing and logistics workers are optimistic when it comes to the current job market," said Traci Fiatte, Group President of Randstad Staffing. "Several trends are impacting the supply and demand of manufacturing talent, including an overall improvement in the unemployment rate for this profession, dropping from 6.9% to 4.5% over the past year."

According to a recent Forbes article that provided a U.S. manufacturing forecast for 2015 to 2016, reshoring will continue in certain sectors of the industry, including chemicals and metals. However, reshoring will be less pronounced in sectors with strong foreign demand.

Furthermore, the industry's skills gap remains a top concern among business leaders. According to a recent U.S. News and World Report article, manufacturing activity has increased in the U.S. for nearly a year, along with the need for trained workers. But the shortage of talent brought on by a wave of retiring Baby Boomers, workers born between 1946 and 1964, has widened the skills gap. As a result, manufacturing and logistics companies are revving up their talent acquisition strategies to attract more workers into the profession.

"The average age of a highly-skilled manufacturing worker today is 56, according to the U.S. Department of Labor," said Fiatte. "If manufacturing continues to expand and the Baby Boomers continue to retire at present rates, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers predicts that the shortfall of skilled factory workers could increase to 3 million jobs by next year."

Q3 Survey Highlights:

Manufacturing and Logistics Workers' Confidence in the Economy Declines Slightly

  • Less than one-third (31%) of manufacturing and logistics workers believe the economy is getting stronger, a decline of three percentage points from the second quarter's 34 percent. Twenty-six percent believe the economy is getting weaker in the third quarter, decreasing from 29 percent last quarter.

Perception of Job Availability Wanes in Third Quarter

  • The percentage of manufacturing and logistics workers who feel there are more jobs available this quarter declined by six percentage points from 30 percent in the second quarter of 2014 to 24 percent this quarter.

Job Security Increases Substantially this Quarter

  • The clear majority (71%) of manufacturing workers feel it is unlikely they will lose their jobs, representing a 13 percentage point increase from 58 percent in second quarter 2014.

Fewer Manufacturing & Logistics Workers Likely to Job Hunt

  • More than one-third (36%) of manufacturing and logistics workers said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, a drop from 39 percent in second quarter. Additionally, only 32 percent of workers feel confident in their ability to find new employment, a decline from 49 percent last quarter.

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