Studies & Reports
Canadians say high-tech manufacturing is one of the most desirable sectors for employment, according to a new study from Randstad Canada. About 47.5 per cent of the survey’s 7,000 respondents said high-tech manufacturing was the most desirable sector in which to work, just slightly less than the 48 per cent who chose engineering and construction, which ranked first in the survey.Respondents ranked manufacturing in first place, though, for competitive salary, interesting job content, career progression opportunities, good training, work-life balance and strong management. Other popular sectors were transport and logistics (46.4 per cent), raw materials (42.6 per cent) and services (41.9 per cent).
Massive investment in the oil and gas and mining sectors is fuelling growth in industries ranging from manufacturing to engineering, according to the Canadian Industrial Profile-Spring 2012 published by The Conference Board of Canada in association with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). The Canadian Industrial Profile provides a five-year (2012-2016) production, revenue, cost and profitability forecast for six industries each quarter. The Spring 2012 edition includes forecasts for electrical equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery manufacturing, oil and gas support activities, professional services and textiles and apparel."It is interesting to note that the economic boom linked to oil and gas and mining activities is benefiting many industries - not only in Western Canada, but throughout the country," said Pierre Cléroux, vice president, economic analysis, at BDC, said in a statement. "In addition to the positive impacts related to the dynamism of the oil and gas and mining sectors, businesses in many manufacturing sectors are performing well thanks to the growth in exports to the U.S. - a first since the end of the recession. Despite the strong dollar, which is an ongoing challenge to the competitiveness of businesses, and the uncertainty created by the eurozone debt crisis, the outlook is positive for many Canadian entrepreneurs.""Driven by high commodity prices, investment in the Canadian mining industry continues to grow at a robust pace. In addition to boosting the support activities for oil and gas industry, this investment boom will stimulate demand for machinery, fabricated metals and architecture and engineering services," said Michael Burt, the Conference Board's director, industrial economic trends.The Conference Board forecasts oil prices to remain high, at more than $100 per barrel for the next couple of years, which will drive investment in the oil sands and support demand for firms to provide contract drilling and field support activities. Profits in the oil and gas support activities industry, which nearly quadrupled between 2009 and 2011, are forecast to double again in 2012 to $310 million. However, fierce competition within the industry is expected to keep profit margins thin, and employers in Western Canada are again facing labour shortages - which will drive up wage costs.Machinery manufacturing is seeing growth in exports to the United States and a significant increase in demand for agriculture, construction and mining machinery equipment. Despite limited price growth, profits are forecast to exceed $1.9 billion this year, which would bring the industry's bottom line back above its pre-recession level.Fabricated metal products are a key input into manufactured goods, such as machinery and equipment, and automobiles. The strong outlook for mining investment and the upturn in manufacturing output will allow the industry to continue its recent growth - profits are forecast to exceed $1.5 billion in 2012. However, the industry's longer-term prospects are muted because it has made few inroads into emerging markets, where growth is expected to be much stronger than in North America.
More than half of Canadian manufacturing executives who took part in a survey see large gaps in skilled labour, according to a new PwC barometer report for the first quarter of 2012.Current approaches used by organizations in the industrial manufacturing sector to attract talent are not enough to meet the needs of Generation Y (Gen Y or millennials- those born from the early 1980s onwards), a group that will make up 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020.The tactics used by the manufacturing industry to attract talent are more aligned to draw the baby boomers (born 1943-1960) and Generation X (born between 1961-1981) demographic group, rather than attracting millennials.  Findings from more than 40 senior manufacturing executives surveyed specified that:A majority of organizations continue to use traditional sources to attract talent, such as posting internally (90 per cent), agencies (54 per cent), job boards (56 per cent) and their company website (76 per cent).A significant portion (87 per cent) of respondents said they used social media sites only moderately."As the manufacturing industry faces a change in the workforce, it's critical for Canadian manufacturers to start using these non-traditional channels if they are to attract and retain the best talent from Gen Y to fill their skilled labour requirements," Teresa Carvalho, a managing director with PwC's consulting and deals practice, said in a statement.For Gen Ys, it's not only about securing a job and the traditional incentive programs such as bonuses. They're looking for more mentoring, career-path development and variable pay components. However, 90 per cent of the Canadian industrial manufacturing organizations offer traditional forms of compensation. Only 44 per cent and 42 per cent respectively offer career-path development and mentoring."Understanding the changing values of the millennials and adjusting to meet their requirements should be on the agenda for Canadian industrial manufacturing companies," said Carvalho. "Gen Ys are looking for rewards that specifically fit their requirements and where they are in life. Manufacturing executives need to think about flexible working arrangements and initiating creative programs for professional development in order to attract top recruits from universities."
Two-thirds of Canadian industrial manufacturers say they are optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects over the next 12 months, according to a new PwC barometer report for the first quarter of 2012. The report found 76 per cent of manufacturers cited optimism, up 19 points from last quarter. In all, 25 per cent who market abroad are also more optimistic about the prospects for the world economy over the next 12 months, four points higher than the prior quarter. In fact, Canadian-based industrial manufacturers that sell abroad reported stabilized international sales in first-quarter 2012, with 22 per cent reporting an increase in sales.The bad news is that revenue growth projections for survey participants is 4.2 per cent, which has dipped off slightly from the calendar year forecast (4.9 per cent) and lower than the prior quarter's 12 month forecast (5.3 per cent). As well, fewer (42 per cent) of the survey respondents are planning major new investments of capital during the next 12 months. That figure is substantially lower than what was reported in last quarter (60 per cent) and the third quarter of 2011 (66 per cent)."What we are seeing is that while there is plenty of optimism on the horizon, there is still the reality of financial instability in global markets. But it is positive that international sales are beginning to stabilize for Canadian industrial manufacturers," Calum Semple, PwC's national industrial manufacturing leader, said in a statement.Topping the list of barriers to growth is oil/energy prices which is at 59 per cent in 2012, compared to 53 per cent during the last two quarters of 2011. Among the 34 per cent of respondents planning to hire within the next 12 months, the most sought-after employees will be professionals/technicians (22 per cent), production workers (17 per cent) and skilled labor (17 per cent)
A Statistics Canada report says that while operating profits for Canadian corporations were unchanged in the first quarter of 2012, manufacturing profits decreased 16.2 per cent. According to a Bloomberg report, the reason for the static profits is because gains in the financial sector were offset by declines in the non-financial sector, and much of the decline came from the manufacturing sector.Operating profits for Canadian corporations amounted to $75.2 billion in the first quarter, virtually unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2011. Gains in the financial sector were largely offset by declines in the non-financial sector.Manufacturing profits decreased 16.2 per cent to $13.5 billion in the first quarter as eight of 13 manufacturing industries reported lower profits. Computer and electronic product manufacturers, motor vehicle and parts manufacturers and air, rail and ship products manufacturers led the decline.In particular, profits for computer and electronic product manufacturers were down 96.7 per cent to $32 million compared with the previous quarter.Profits for motor vehicles and parts manufacturers dropped 50.6 per cent to $812 million, while profits for air, rail and ship products manufacturers fell 58.9 per cent to $269 million.
Statistics Canada says the economy surprised again in April, creating 58,200 new jobs as employment rose in most goods-producing industries and in most provinces. Still, the unemployment rate edged up one-tenth of a point to 7.3 per cent, but that was because even more people were looking for work last month.The big gains, following a stunning 82,000 increase in jobs in March, changes the picture for Canada's labour market, which until two months ago had been mostly stagnant since the summer.The details in the April jobs report were even stronger than the headline, with all the new workers coming in the employee category rather than self-employment. They were also mostly in the private sector and mostly full time.The agency says employment rose in manufacturing, construction, natural resources and agriculture, as well as the education sector. And, unlike in March, when most of the new jobs were concentrated in Central Canada, this time the winners included the Atlantic region, Quebec and the West.The April gains brought the number of jobs created over the past year to 214,000, all in the full-time work category.
The manufacturing sector is showing signs of strength, according to the Conference Board of Canada's latest report. According to the Conference Board, the leading indicator of industry profitability has been moving sideways over the past year, recording small declines last fall and small gains this year. Nonetheless, there are general signs of improvement in the economic indicators for both Canada and the United States. In particular, the manufacturing sector is showing signs of strength. Given the good news from the manufacturing sector on both side of the border, it is not surprising that the profitability outlook for many manufacturing industries improved in April. Electrical equipment, furniture, plastic and rubber products, and food and beverage manufacturing posted the strongest gains. Still, despite the recent improvement in manufacturing, all six of the industries that recorded a decline in their profitability index this month were from the manufacturing sector. The decliners included paper products and clothing and textiles manufacturing. Also, after several months of improvement, the profitability outlook for both the machinery and the motor vehicle manufacturing industries deteriorated in April.
North American robotics companies enjoyed one of the industry’s strongest opening quarters ever, according to new statistics released from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.
AIA, the association representing vision suppliers, system integrators, users, researchers and consulting firms from 32 countries, has released its first-ever study of the worldwide machine vision market for cameras. The seven-chapter study contains a detailed market description, a retail pricing analysis, a sales analysis and a trend analysis.
Canada’s labour market is not expected to return to full employment for another four years. After 2016, however, tight labour markets will curtail long-term potential growth in the national economy, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Outlook Long-Term Forecast 2012.
February U.S. manufacturing technology orders totalled $444.06 million US, according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total was up 9.3 percent from January and up 35.2 percent when compared with the total of $328.44 million US reported for February 2011.
In early February, the Quebec offices of Deloitte released a new study discussing the challenges of Quebec’s manufacturers. It is a no-holds-barred look at how manufacturing is struggling in the province, and how it can reinvigorate itself with the right approach. It’s also a document manufacturers from across Canada can benefit from.
Operating conditions in Canada's manufacturing sector strengthened in March, according to the RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (RBC PMI), a monthly survey conducted in association with Markit and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC), which offers a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
Sales of machine vision components and systems in North America climbed five percent in 2011 to nearly $1.9 billion US, according to new figures released by AIA, the industry's global trade group.
January U.S. manufacturing technology orders totalled $401.69 million US, according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program, was down 26.5 percent from December, but up 8.4 percent when compared with the total of $370.46 million US reported for January 2011.

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