A University of Montana Business Survey says that manufacturers in Montana are optimistic about the year ahead.
Montana Manufacturing Extension Center Director Paddy Fleming says that they have good reason to be.
"Montana manufacturers seem to weather the ups and downs much better than their national counterparts do."
Fleming says that in Montana, 81 percent of manufacturers have fewer than 10 employees, and they tend to be very entrepreneurial.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at UM says that beverage and food manufacturers in Montana are the most optimistic, since many microbreweries and distilleries have expanded in the past year. There was a slight decline in the number of Montana manufacturing jobs last year, but between 2011 and 2014 the number of manufacturing jobs numbers grew from 3.5 to 7.5 percent each year.
The new survey found that finding and keeping enough skilled workers is among the major concerns for manufacturers in Montana.