—The Randstad Manufacturing Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among manufacturing workers, declined 3.6 points to 51.0 in the first quarter of 2013—alongside diminishing confidence levels in nearly every industry surveyed by Randstad. The online survey of 149 U.S. manufacturing workers was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad in January, February and March of 2013.

“Although we see a slight decline in overall confidence levels this quarter, we believe this may be an irregularity due to the uncertainty surrounding the sequester, as well as the continued gas price and payroll tax concerns,” said Phyllis Finley, executive vice president at Randstad US. “We still believe the U.S. manufacturing sector is well-positioned to experience a significant rebound and likely surpass worldwide competition in the future. Software that bridges the virtual environment and the real world promises to streamline and bring efficiencies to the manufacturing process and boost productivity levels.

“In fact, according to Wanted Analytics, in February there were more than 8,500 job ads posted online for software developers in the manufacturing industry, representing eight percent of all software developer demand. Hiring for software developers in manufacturing is 61 percent higher than demand seen at this time four years ago. As the sector is rejuvenated by the utilization of software, more U.S. companies are bringing their manufacturing jobs back to American shores from overseas—also driving more growth and demand for skilled manufacturing workers.

“When it comes to filling these job opportunities, businesses will need to turn to a largely untapped resource—women. According to a recent report by consultancy Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, women are drastically underrepresented in the manufacturing industry workforce when compared to the general U.S. working population.  While women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force, the group only accounts for 24.8 percent of the manufacturing industry’s workforce.”

Q1 2013 Survey Highlights:

More Manufacturing Workers Believe the Economy is Getting Weaker

  • Twenty-eight percent of manufacturing workers believe the economy is getting stronger, showing no change from the previous quarter. However, nearly half (45 percent) of workers say the economy is getting weaker, climbing 12 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2012.

Job Outlook Among Workers Barely Changed

  • The number of workers who believe more jobs are available fell just one percentage point, decreasing from 22 percent to 21 percent in the first quarter.  Meanwhile, the number of manufacturing employees who believe fewer jobs are available increased slightly, rising from 48 percent to 50 percent.
Job Confidence Among Workers Dipped Slightly in the First Quarter

  • Although the number of workers who are confident in their ability to find employment contracted slightly, falling from 45 percent to 42 percent in the first quarter, the percentage of manufacturing employees who say that are not confident in their ability find a job rose six percentage points to 25 percent this quarter.
Optimism in Future of Employers Declines

  • The percentage of workers confident in the future of their employers fell to 53 percent, dropping six percentage points from the previous quarter’s readings.
Significant Decline in the Number of Workers Likely to Job Search in First Quarter

  • Just over a quarter (26 percent) of manufacturing workers say they are likely to look for a job in the next 12 months, dropping 11 percentage points from the previous quarter.



Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad from January 14-16, February 11-13 and March 5-7, 2013 among 3,631 adults ages 18 and older, of which 149 are employed in manufacturing. 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

About Randstad

Randstad is a $22.0 billion global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. From temporary staffing to permanent placement to inhouse, professionals, search & selection, and HR Solutions, Randstad holds top positions around the world and has approximately 29,300 corporate employees and around 4,500 branches and inhouse locations in 39 countries around the world. Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands, Randstad Holding nv is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam.

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