Georgia manufacturing shines in latest survey

By Michael E. Kanell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   Georgia’s manufacturing…

Georgia (Mar 2, 2010)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia’s manufacturing sector saw a solid improvement in February, hitting its highest level since last April, according to a survey by Kennesaw State’s Econometric Center.
While the report does not prove the growth will continue, a sizeable number of companies surveyed reported an increase in orders, prompting them to pump up production and add workers.
Manufacturing has hemorrhaged jobs for more than a decade, and the sector was hit doubly hard during the downturn that started in late 2007. With the economy struggling to sustain a recovery, many economists look with hope the sector: Manufacturing companies often put proportionally more into the local economy, especially those that export.
One month’s data is encouraging but not conclusive, said Don Sabbarese, the center’s director.
“It is too early to tell whether this is an aberration or the beginning of a trend.”
The sharp rise in production indicates that companies think new orders will keep rising, he said. And while less than one in five companies said they were hiring, that was a 13 percent increase from the previous month.
National surveys showed manufacturing picking up in the fall, although the sector dipped slightly last month, Sabbarese said.
“The Georgia and Southeast (measures) have caught up to the national (survey),” he said.
In Georgia, manufacturing has seen its share of employment fall from 14 percent a dozen years ago to about 8 percent. But the sector still accounts for 342,400 jobs in the state.
Kennesaw state surveys manufacturing companies each month.


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