2015 primed to be big year for manufacturing job creation

As the American manufacturing industry closes a strong year of growth, investment and productivity, signs point toward the creation of more factory jobs in the coming months. Across all sectors of the economy, 40 percent of CEOs of the largest corporations in the U.S. say they plan to hire more employees in the next six months, compared to 34 percent in the third quarter of 2014. Labor has become a more attractive investment than new facilities, as the same survey by the Business Roundtable found 13 percent of executives planned to reduce spending on equipment and properties. 

In some regions, manufacturers are particularly eager to put more employees to work. In Wisconsin, 53 percent of manufacturers plan to increase hiring in the next year. With strong talent development programs at local colleges and apprenticeships cropping up across machine shops, entrepreneurs are game to seize the opportunity, though the industry still faces a shortfall of prospective employees.

"[Fifty-three percent is] a lot of companies that are going to be trying to attract a limited number of people for jobs," said Ann Franz, director of NEW Manufacturing Alliance, told the Green Bay Press Gazette. "In the five years of the study, this has been the strongest, and companies are the most bullish on the future."

In Wisconsin, the manufacturing industry employs more people than any other economic sector, with 16 percent of all jobs. In the high-activity Northeastern region of the state, manufacturing jobs account for 23 percent of all employees. 

While employers eye hiring strategies for 2015, recent job numbers from payroll processor ADP indicate that the economy added 208,000 jobs in November. This marks the third straight month where job creation hovered over 200,000, according to the Associated Press.