Manufacturing sales are flat

Only 43 percent of local manufacturers have experienced a sales increase in the past year, down from 70 percent in 2012, according to the 2013 Mid-Year Manufacturing Survey from The Paranet Group.

The backlog of work is shrinking or flat, according to 68.2 percent of the 100 Paranet member respondents. The backlog usually increases steadily, and indicates new employees are being hired.

Several respondents attributed the downturn to a soft global economy, especially in Europe and China. Raw material prices have risen, driving down profits. At home, government contracts and a recent drought were also factors.

Automotive and housing recoveries have benefitted those who reported an increase in sales.

Of those surveyed, 60 percent expect pending orders and proposals will lead to an increase in sales over the second half of the year.

Respondents also expected personnel growth, with 68 percent planning to hire hourly workers and 57 percent expecting to hire salaried workers in the next six months.

The Paranet Group, based in Milwaukee, is a professional organization that provides development and benchmarking for Wisconsin and Illinois manufacturing company executives.

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