WAUKESHA COUNTY BUSINESS ALLIANCE, INC. | WAUKESHA.ORG 18 BY: AMANDA PAYNE, VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC POLICY, WAUKESHA COUNTY BUSINESS ALLIANCE After months of economic turmoil during what has been a chaotic and challenging year, many are wondering when the economy will move into a recovery phase and who will lead the way. Or are there already signs of recovery in some industries? As Wisconsin celebrates October with Manufacturing Month, we take a closer look at the manufacturing industry and a few early signs of optimism among Waukesha County manufacturers. As the number one contributor to Wisconsin’s economy, manufacturers in the state employ nearly one in five workers. The stats in Waukesha County mirror those statewide – manufacturing accounts for roughly 20 percent of the jobs in Waukesha County. An August statewide survey conducted by Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) found that 48 percent of manufacturers are predicting an increased customer demand for their products in the next six months. While 30 percent were unsure of customer predictions, only 16 percent were predicting a decrease in demand in the next six months. Not surprisingly, the survey found that 94 percent of manufacturers have increased cleaning and disinfecting practices and 85 percent have placed restrictions on non- essential visitors. Those numbers are probably similar across all industries, as businesses have made sweeping changes to everything from guest policies to shop floor layout to daily temperature screenings. The good news is that these practices seem to be working – 55 percent of manufacturers reported no active cases of COVID-19 and 40.5 percent reported that while active cases had been reported, there was little to no impact on the business. Only 2.5 percent reported that active COVID cases had contributed to a partial shutdown for a period of time, and fewer than two percent reported that active cases had forced a shutdown of all operations. Those are encouraging numbers as employers recognize it may be nearly impossible to prevent COVID cases from happening, but minimizing the impact to employees and production is key. Locally, there are signs that manufacturing in Waukesha County CAN MAN U FACTURING LEAD THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY?