After Hitting Record High Levels in Q2 2014, Confidence Among Manufacturing and Logistics Workers Dips in Q3 



ATLANTA, November 12, 2014 – The Randstad Manufacturing & Logistics Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. workers in this sector, declined in the third quarter of 2014 after hitting an all-time high last quarter. The index 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. 

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 percent to 4.5 percent 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. 

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad from July 8-10, August 4-6 and September 9-11, 2014 among 3,144 ages 18 and older, of which 167 are employed in manufacturing and logistics. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact kristin.mchugh@randstadusa.com.

About Randstad Manufacturing & Logistics 
With more than 50 years of experience in the Manufacturing & Logistics industry, we can access the right talent at the right time. We designed our products, services and solutions with the specifications required to best ensure that our clients receive qualified, dependable talent who they can trust to perform the job responsibly. With our deep industry understanding, experience and commitment to ongoing education, we have designed an unparalleled service model to deliver reliability, responsibility and results. Our service and expertise in attracting and assessing the right talent for the right job combine to create partnerships that result in ongoing success.

About Randstad US
Randstad US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a $22.0 billion global provider of HR services. As the third largest staffing organization in the U.S., Randstad holds top positions in permanent placement, office and administrative, IT and accounting and finance. From professional services, commercial staffing, recruitment process outsourcing, to managed services and more, Randstad delivers a comprehensive range of temporary, temporary-to-hire, permanent placement and outsourced placement services. With its 5,324 employment experts, Randstad puts an average of approximately 100,000 people to work in the U.S. each week, through its network of nearly 1,000 branches and client-dedicated locations.
 
Learn more at www.randstadusa.com and access Randstad’s panoramic U.S. thought leadership knowledge center through its Workforce360 site that offers valuable insight into the latest economic indicators and HR trends shaping the world of work.