2008 Industry Outlook
Two bright spots: Manufacturers in aviation and biosciences are expected to buck the slow-growth trend.
COMING CLEAN: Arizona Chemical’s plant in Port St. Joe reduced air emissions, water use and wastewater loading.
[Photo: Richard Lee]
“All manufacturers are looking to increase their bottom line and at the same time address environmental concerns,” says Eric Roe, director of the Center for Manufacturing Education. “Lean manufacturing, eliminating waste from the process, will be a big goal.” Nancy Stephens, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida, says green philosophy will begin to trickle down to medium and smaller manufacturers this year. “We have about 50 manufacturers participating in the EPA program called Performance Track,” Stephens says. “One of them is (Jacksonville-based) Arizona Chemical, and they’ve made significant strides in reducing emissions.”
? Push for tax breaks
? Increasing theft of product designs — even down to logos — by overseas manufacturers
? Continued strength in aviation, electronics, medical and fabrication of metal components sectors
? Workforce concerns, including retiring Baby Boomers and labor shortages in a number of sectors, including the marine industry in south Florida
? Stronger demand overseas for American products because of the weak dollar
On Workforce Development
“It’s still an important issue to us and the most important thing that happened last year and translates to action this year in Senate Bill 1232, the Florida Career and Professional Academies Act. That mandates that every school district in the state implement a career and professional academy by the next academic school year and provides increased funding to do that. It really gives us an opportunity to start building that pipeline of workers.”
— Eric Roe, director,
Center for Manufacturing Education
Shortage of Profits and Workers
“Half our members tell us they have jobs empty right now because they can’t find qualified manufacturing workers, says Hank Cox, vice president of communications for the National Association of Manufacturers. Higher costs for water, electricity and raw materials will shrink the bottom line, says Nancy Stephens, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida. “That’s going to be a killer,” Stephens says. “It’s really going to put a dent in profits. We’re going to have to address resources, power and people.” On average, manufacturing jobs in Florida paid $45,711 in 2006, up from $43,410 in 2005, according to the Manufacturers Association of Florida.