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Minnesota manufacturers ‘confident’ despite recession

A new survey of Minnesota manufacturers shows that most are confident about the future, even though they don’t see the economy turning around anytime time soon.

A new survey of Minnesota manufacturers shows that most are confident about the future, even though they don’t see the economy turning around anytime time soon.

The State of Manufacturing survey, by Enterprise Minnesota, asked 400 manufacturing executives for their opinions during a two-week period in December.

Seventy-nine percent said they are “confident” about the future of their firms, while 59 percent predict the recession will continue throughout 2009.

Other findings from the report:

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More evidence that the flow of money isn’t as bad as some are claiming? Just 9 percent of respondents said access to credit was having a “modest” or “significant” impact on their business. Thirteen percent said they are “very concerned” about the availablility of capital.

Health care — not the economy or credit issues — topped the list of concerns by Minnesota manufacturers. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they are concerned about health care costs. Even companies hurt by credit issues said they are more concerned about health care.

And even as unemployment rises, good employees appear to be in demand. Respondents said stability and pride were among the most important workplace factors, and 41 percent said they expect wages to increase over the next two years.

Enterprise Minnesota, a state-chartered nonprofit that assists Minnesota manufacturing companies, is unveiling the report at a series of events this week.