A survey of Georgia’s manufacturers released on Tuesday finds many companies continue to have trouble finding qualified workers. But exports are up and some firms are bringing jobs back to the U.S.
The survey of 500 manufacturers found profits dropped between 2010 and 2012, but innovative companies fared better.
Adam Beckerman is with the Atlanta accounting firm Habif, Arogeti and Wynne, which conducts the survey. He says more companies reported bringing jobs back from Asia to Georgia than outsourcing.
That’s due to higher costs in China.
“The middle class over in China they’re expecting higher wages and that’s affecting the price of goods coming over to the U.S.," he said. "You’ve got freight costs, fuel costs. Georgia manufacturers are beginning to say to themselves, ‘It may not make sense producing over in China’.”
Companies that compete on innovation rather than low price fared better, the survey found.
Beckerman says many companies say research and development costs too much. But he says many don’t use state tax credits and other incentives.
“Innovation does cost money," he said. "But here are these tax credits to offset the cost of innovation. And these tax credits can get monetized immediately. These companies can go hire new employees, buy new equipment, things to help them innovate immediately.”
He said QuickStart, a state program that helps companies hire workers, is also unknown to many manufacturers.
Beckerman’s firm, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University and the Georgia Department of Labor survey Georgia manufacturers every two years.