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Manufacturers in Northeast Ohio report growth and open positions, but hiring remains the No. 1 challenge

Posted at 2:11 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 23:17:15-05

CLEVELAND — According to a new survey, 69 percent of manufacturers in Northeast Ohio reported growth in the past year, and thousands of open positions. However, hiring remains the number one challenge.

The annual State of Manufacturing survey comes out Thursday. It takes the temperature of one of Northeast Ohio's biggest and most important industries. The headline this year: Manufacturing is growing and companies need employees of all skill levels right now.

Bosses were also asked about the risk of automation. The survey shows 47 percent are using artificial intelligence along with their current workforce to increase productivity. Only 5 percent said it’s being used to replace jobs.

"Every automation that we see put in is really augmenting the worker that's standing beside it, and producing a high-paying job for somebody else to then service multiple robots on a shop floor,” said Ethan Karp, President and CEO of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or MAGNET.

Karp said he believes the biggest threat to manufacturing jobs isn't AI, but companies not investing in technology, like automation, robotics, traceability and cyber security.Again, the report comes out tomorrow.

Starting Thursday, MAGNET is hosting events to talk about the survey results and the work being done to keep Northeast Ohio manufacturers competitive.

Events will be held in Independence on Thursday, Canton on Friday, and Akron on Tuesday. Walk-ins are welcome. More information on the events here.