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Manufacturing on road to recovery, says poll

Despite the continued uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll indicates that manufacturing is on its way back.

In the July 2020 poll conducted by the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM) and Automate Canada, both based in Windsor, the consensus among manufacturing firms is that the mode has shifted from “response” to “recover”. For the second monthly survey in a row, 98 per cent of survey respondents reported that they had resumed operations, a rebound from 20 per cent of respondents stating they had to close their firms at the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

According to CAMM board Chairman Mike Bilton, the poll results are encouraging, but there is still a long way to go.

“We are a resilient industry. We have gone through tough times, and this pandemic is no different,” said Bilton. “We know we still have tough times ahead, so we are working as an organization to build on how as a team, we can move forward.”

The poll showed that manufacturers had moved into a long-term planning phase, during which the future health of their businesses is evaluated. The survey also showed that manufacturers are taking advantage of federal COVID-19 relief programs such as the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), flexible work-from-home arrangements, and improved collaboration among employees.

The survey also identified some drawbacks. Even though hiring has resumed this month, the sector has also seen increased layoffs, both temporary and permanent, as businesses evaluate cash flow and adjust staffing levels to deal with current demand for products.

Also, current border restrictions are a big concern, as mould makers, automation firms, and tool-and-die companies are facing increased pressure from American customers to resume projects.

CAMM and Automate Canada are both a part of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Task Force. Weekly surveys have been issued in March, April, and May during the height of the recent pandemic wave, but polls have since been trimmed back to monthly.

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