Indiana Manufacturers Association’s 2021 Spring Survey reveals optimism despite continued challenges with workforce and supply chains

INDIANA – The Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) recently conducted a 2021 Spring Business Survey of its members to get an updated picture of how Hoosier manufacturers, Indiana’s largest economic sector, are recuperating and continuing to manage through the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.  

The latest survey, conducted in late May and early June, measured manufacturers’ outlook and various factors, including federal unemployment benefits, childcare, supply chains, and more, that are impacting business operations and manufacturers’ ability to successfully run their businesses. The results of that survey may be found here

According to the survey, 63 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were mostly optimistic about their future operations. The 6-12 month outlook was mostly positive, with 31 percent Very Optimistic, 44 percent Optimistic, 21 percent Stable and 5 percent Pessimistic. Ranking the 18-24 month outlook, respondents were also very positive, with 31 percent Very Optimistic, 46 percent Optimistic, 18 percent Stable and 5 percent Pessimistic.

A main impediment to many businesses has been the ability to find qualified workers for open positions. Fifty-nine percent (59 percent) indicated that it has been extremely hard to find qualified workers for open positions. And a whopping 84 percent responded yes when asked if the federal unemployment benefits had affected their ability to hire workers.

Regarding vaccinations, 25 percent stated they had taken no action, 74 percent indicated that they encourage employees to get vaccinated, and only 1 percent mandated vaccinations for all employees. In encouraging vaccination among employees, 38 percent of those surveyed offered paid time off, 6 percent offered extra sick days, 6 percent offered cash or other incentives, and 50 percent have employed other methods.

Regarding supply chain issues, 3 percent said supply chains were very reliable, 42 percent said they were experiencing some manageable delays, 40 percent said there are serious but manageable delays, and 15 percent stated that serious delays are impacting the success of their businesses.

Those manufacturers surveyed reported that 86 percent of employees are working fully in person. Five percent (5%) said that production personnel was the only in-person workers, and 9 percent stated they were phasing in non-production personnel. For those with employees still working from home, 65 percent stated that their timeline for return to in-person work was 1-2 months, 27 percent indicated in-person work would occur in the Fall of 2021, and 8 percent indicated in-person work would recommence in 2022.

IMA CEO Brian Burton

“Manufacturers have led the charge throughout this unprecedented year and they continue to do so. Indiana’s outlook remains positive, in no small part, due to thoughtful leadership throughout the manufacturing community,” said IMA President and CEO Brian Burton. “Our challenge now is to take the lessons of COVID-19 and use them to propel business forward with fresh ideas and discern how we can remain agile in times of uncertainty.”