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Manufacturing hits three-year growth record and continues focus on improving efficiency

by Mary Rooney | May 01, 2018


Manufacturing Growth

According to MarketWatch, American companies grew faster in April, especially manufacturers, in a reflection of a steadily expanding U.S. economy. But inflationary pressures increased as well.

The flash IHS Markit U.S. manufacturing PMI climbed to 56.5 this month from 55.5 and touched a three-and-a-half-year high. Readings over 50 indicate expansion.

Businesses boosted production in April to match an increase in new orders. Companies also acted more aggressively to secure materials from suppliers because they are taking longer to deliver them. That suggests companies are running into bottlenecks, a potential hurdle for the economy if the situation gets worse.

Even with new orders increasing, companies eased back on hiring. The growth in manufacturing, combined with low unemployment numbers and a skilled labor shortage, have encouraged manufacturers to focus more on improving efficiency and automation.

Workforce Development

Automation and workforce development were font and center at Digitize, the KC SmartPort Annual industry Briefing on April 4. An expert panel of leaders from manufacturing companies including Honeywell, Mars Wrigley Confectionary U.S., Kawasaki Motors and Magna International, discussed robotics, shifts in customer demand, job access, and the persistent interest gap among young people who don’t consider manufacturing as a career path.

With the growth of manufacturing and distribution centers in the Kansas City region, KC SmartPort and its partners are focused on strengthening the workforce in the Kansas City region in two specific areas, job access and awareness. 

  • Job access: SmartPort is driving collaboration between the public and private sectors to implement innovative policies and tools to increase transportation and job access capabilities in our region.

  • Career awareness: Kansas City stakeholders across industry and education institutions are coming together to implement solutions that will better serve students for a successful transition either directly into the supply chain workforce or postsecondary education.

Read more on manufacturing growth from MarketWatch.com.

Read more about Digitize, the KC SmartPort Annual industry Briefing.

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