If you want a good barometer of the health of the U.S. economy, look no further than the jobs growth rate among small businesses. As the economy improves and optimism among small business owners rises, they will take measures to prepare for the increased demand that a strong economy will place upon them, measures such as:
Hiring more workers. Even in a heavily-automated business, there still needs to be someone to operate, program, and maintain the machinery.
Updating the workplace. By adding new software and hardware to the workplace, business owners add ways to improve their ability to meet increased demand.
Ordering more materials. Among manufacturers, increased demand for products means an increased amount of ordering for raw materials. This helps to improve business among providers of said raw materials as well, allowing them to add more jobs and innovations.
Adding more Workers
In a recent post on CNBC.com, Marlin Steel was featured as one of the many small businesses in America that was adding jobs. In the last year, Marlin Steel has added eight new workers to the company payroll, bringing the total number of employees to 30.
Several of the new workers added in 2014 included former U.S. military veterans. These hard-working, dedicated individuals have served their country, and now that they’ve returned home, they are ready, willing, and able to use their hard-earned expertise to help businesses here in America. Marlin Steel is dedicated to hiring and developing great talents, and there are many veterans with skills that can make them highly effective for small business owners.
Upgrading the Workplace
Another sign of a healthy economy is the rate at which small businesses invest in updating the job site. For manufacturers such as Marlin Steel, this typically means adding new manufacturing equipment, floor space, and technology. Over the last twelve months, Marlin Steel did all of the above.
The new equipment and technology came in the form of several new additions to Marlin Steel’s factory floor, including:
A new and rare MFDC welder which can weld faster and with fewer deformities than traditional automated welders, and far fewer than manual welds.
A rotary press machine that can coin, stamp, swage, and pierce custom metal forms.
A wide, wet belt-sander for parts finishing tasks.
These machines join the small army of automated manufacturing equipment that have allowed Marlin Steel’s wire forms and sheet metal baskets to meet tight tolerances with incredible consistency for years.
To accommodate these machines, and the workers needed to run them, Marlin Steel recently expanded its total factory floor space by 50% as well, as fact that did not go unnoticed by CNBC in their article.
Looking Forward to a Resurgent Economy
2014 was one of the best years on record for Marlin Steel since its inception. Marlin achieved this because of not only a resurgent U.S. economy, but because of the very investments in technology and personnel that are seen as signs of recovery.
We here at Marlin Steel are looking forward to another great year of helping clients solve challenges with custom metal forms, and being able to add more jobs for dedicated American workers.
Will the current upswing hold? It is impossible to be 100% certain, and the CNBC article was cautiously in its assessment of the recent hiring surge among small businesses, stating that “it remains to be seen whether the pickup reverses a long-term decline in the role of small business as the engine of job growth” and that “skilled new positions are getting harder to fill.”
Even as the economy recovers and employers are looking to add workers, they need workers who have the skills to do the work and “hit the ground running,” so to speak. However, finding workers with all of the specific skills that a given job might require can be difficult, if not impossible, unless the company in question is willing and able to train its existing employees for the role, something which Marlin Steel excels at, thanks to its skills matrix program that identifies needed skills and gives employees the resources needed to learn said skills as well as incentives for learning them.