Small manufacturing companies in Placer County are upbeat about the future.

More than 85 percent expect conditions for their industry to improve, or at least stay the same over the next year. Forty percent anticipate solid growth for their companies, and another 45 percent do not foresee any change. Only about 5 percent expect to downsize over the next 12 months, while 40 percent expect to add employees and almost 53 percent anticipate no change.

About 21 percent of the companies have used one or more business-assistance services offered by Placer County. Eighty-five percent described their experiences as positive, with 40 percent saying they were highly satisfied and 45 percent saying they were moderately satisfied.

Those are among the key findings from a survey conducted earlier this year for the Placer County Office of Economic Development. The survey was done by the Sacramento Regional Research Institute, a joint venture of Sacramento State University and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.

Earlier this year, the institute surveyed 95 manufacturers based in Placer County that have no more than 49 employees. The survey sought to gauge the business climate for small manufacturers, their awareness of business-assistance programs offered by the county and the level of satisfaction among companies that have used county programs.

“I’m very pleased with the results. They demonstrate that Placer County is a great place to do business, and will help the county target its programs so they provide assistance where it is most needed,” Chairman Bill Santucci of the county Board of Supervisors said.

The Office of Economic Development offers permit, site-search and financing assistance. It also assists businesses through the Business Advantage Network, a coalition of local government and nonprofit agencies involved in job-development work.  The network helps businesses recruit new employees, post job openings, screen applicants and set up customized training programs.

The survey was funded with part of an $82,000 grant the Office of Economic Development received from the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency and Golden Sierra Workforce Investment Board. The grant helps fund programs that assist laid-off workers and small businesses in danger of closing.

The survey found that 32.6 percent of the companies expect their industry’s economic conditions to get moderately better and another 9.5 percent foresee conditions getting substantially better over the next year. Another 43.2 percent anticipate conditions staying the same.

“The survey results are very good for Placer County,” said county Director of Economic Development David Snyder. “Small manufacturers here are very optimistic- over 85 percent expect economic conditions to improve or stay the same over the next year.” About 10.5 percent said they expect conditions to get moderately worse and 2.1 percent expect substantially-worse conditions.

“When asked about expectations for economic conditions over a longer time period, most respondents again expressed a positive outlook,” the survey explained. “Almost 53 percent expect conditions to get moderately or substantially better.” Approximately 26.3 percent said conditions will stay the same over the next three to five years, 14.7 percent see them getting moderately worse and 4.2 percent expect them to be substantially worse.  

When asked about their company’s outlook for the next year, 40 percent said they foresee solid growth and 45.3 percent expect to stay the same. Another 12.6 percent said they expect a slight decrease in operations.

*Placer County press release