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Posted by Tasha Weiss on December 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
Last month’s FABTECH show in Las Vegas boasted a record attendance, an array of new technologies and products on display and an unprecedented number of manufacturing sessions–all signs that manufacturing in the U.S. may have a bright future.
Show organizers reported that nearly 26,000 people attended, and exhibitors reported that sales activity was brisk and leads were plentiful.
The conference also featured several special events, including a State of the Industry roundtable with manufacturing CEOs concurring that growth in manufacturing should continue for the next year. However, the panelists acknowledged that a stumbling block to growth is the lack of skilled workers in manufacturing, and emphasized that manufacturers need to be more aggressive in influencing parents and students and in giving schools a more active voice in recruiting potential manufacturing workers.
FABTECH also featured a Post-Election Analysis panel featuring Washington insiders with long track records in representing manufacturing interests. The panelists discussed the looming fiscal cliff (they believe that Congress will reach an agreement to at least move the deadline for a debt deal) and other issues that will impact manufacturers. All agreed that the manufacturing sector has gained influence in Washington over the past two years and encouraged manufacturers to get involved in advocacy efforts for the industry via their trade associations.
“If you can take the pulse of the economy by what’s happening in manufacturing, then you have to be optimistic that we are headed for economic growth,” said Mark Hoper, FABTECH show co-manager. “A constant theme I heard both on the show floor and at the seminars was that, while challenges and uncertainties remain, most manufacturers believe that their businesses are headed for continued growth in 2013.”
FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry-leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI).
Next year’s show will be held November 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago. More information on this year’s FABTECH can be found at www.fabtechexpo.com.