April 4, 2017

Regulatory, Workforce Worries Amplified For Indiana Manufacturers

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A worker assembles caskets on a factory floor in Batesville. - Annie Ropeik/IPB file photo

A worker assembles caskets on a factory floor in Batesville.

Annie Ropeik/IPB file photo

President Donald Trump is touting a new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers that shows record optimism among American factory owners – a rosier picture than a similar Indiana survey painted last fall.

Lobbyist Andrew Berger of the Indiana Manufacturers Association says there’s been one big change since their 2016 state survey came out in October:

“The obvious difference is that the election has occurred,” he says.

A few months later, a record 93 percent of companies in the national survey had a positive outlook about growth for the next year.

Berger says regulatory burdens and health care costs are the industry’s biggest worries, and the Trump administration has promised to ease those.

“Maybe if they re-surveyed right now, their optimism would be a little bit dampened because the health care bill collapsed,” he says.

And things aren’t evolving as quickly for factories’ other big problem: the labor gap. Berger says that’ll take federal and state reforms to solve.

He says it’s already more urgent in Indiana, because the state has lower unemployment and more open factory jobs than some other parts of the country.

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