Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Survey shows more than half of Kentucky manufacturers plan to hire in 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2010) — Gov. Beshear today announced that 57 percent of Kentucky manufacturers surveyed for the recently conducted 2010 Annual Manufacturing Wage and Benefits Survey said they are planning to hire between one and 19 employees in 2011, a 16 percent jump from last year’s results. The annual report, sponsored by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), was released today.

“The results of this survey are good news for Kentucky businesses and Kentucky families,” said Gov. Beshear. “Growth in the manufacturing industry will be critical to Kentucky recovering from the global economic crisis, and this survey shows that manufacturers find Kentucky a positive place to do business. In addition, businesses across Kentucky are able to maintain or add new jobs by taking advantage of the new incentives the state offers under my administration.”

The survey showed that, for the first time, the average annual wage of manufacturing employees in Kentucky broke the $50,000 mark. Manufacturing employees made an average of $51,771 in 2010, up from $48,277 in the 2008-2009 survey, for an increase of 7.2 percent. Compared to 2010, the average annual manufacturing wage has jumped from $34,736 in 2000, and it has increased each year since 2000. Sixty-three percent of the 177 manufacturing job categories recorded a higher average wage in the 2010 survey.

“The fact that wages went up 7.2 percent from the last survey was a positive surprise,” said Shawn Herbig, president of IQS Research. “It shows that employers are working to keep the staff they have by compensating them appropriately.”

IQS Research of Louisville collaborated with KAM on the development of the wage and benefits survey for Kentucky’s manufacturing community. The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, South Central Kentucky Regional Economic Development Partnership and the Central Kentucky Career Center also supported the survey this year.

“The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) clearly understands the importance of helping the Commonwealth’s manufacturing community control costs, especially when making hiring and promotion decisions,” stated Greg Higdon, KAM president & CEO. “KAM's 99th annual Wage & Benefits Survey Report is a valuable tool manufacturers can use in their efforts to compensate employees in a fair and competitive manner.”

“This study represents more than 31,000 salary and hourly manufacturing employees and 202 companies in Kentucky. It gives us a valuable snapshot of what is happening and helps us measure the vitality of the sector in Kentucky. It shows that manufacturing is moving forward cautiously from the recession and making plans to hire in the next year, which is a positive,” said Beth Brinly, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Investment.

In addition to the statewide report, the Department of Workforce Investment worked with KAM to produce a set of regional reports. The information gives manufacturers timely and accurate wage and benefits information such as paid vacation and sick time, health insurance and overtime pay when making hiring and promotion decisions.

To conduct the survey, IQS Research e-mailed invitations to Kentucky manufacturers. Information was collected and compiled during July and August 2010. The number of companies participating in the report rose from 147 in the last survey to 202 this year. Of the employers who participated, 55 percent said that they had fewer than 100 employees. All of the information provided in the report is in aggregate form, so as to not identify individual companies.

In addition to wage and benefits information, for the first time in the survey’s 99-year history questions were included about green jobs and what Kentucky manufacturers are doing or planning to do to make companies more environmentally friendly.

The number of companies that are currently producing green products is 43 percent, while 40 percent are in the process of developing new green products. In addition, 69 percent of employers are educating and training their workforce on ways to use energy more efficiently, reduce pollution, conserve natural resources and be more cost effective.

“The survey found some very interesting trends happening in green jobs across the state. This study indicates that Kentucky manufacturers are recognizing the importance of green technology and manufacturing for future growth and that’s exciting,” said Brinly.

Questions about benefits showed that 80 percent of the companies provide nine or more paid holidays per year. Health insurance was offered by about 97 percent of employers surveyed.

Companies were also asked about hiring temporary workers. About 68 percent of the employers currently use temporary staff as compared to 65 percent in the last report. In the 2010 survey, about 41 percent said they plan to hire temporary workers in the future as compared to 3.4 percent of employers surveyed in the last report.

The manufacturing sector employs more than 212,000 people in Kentucky as of August 2010, according to the Department of Workforce Investment.

Visit or call 502-352-2485 for information on how to purchase a copy of the 2010 KAM Wage and Benefits Survey report.

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