CANTON, OH (Oct. 24, 2011) - Manufacturing sales are increasing, and so is market share for primary products. Business is expected to grow. So is employment. Wouldn’t you want to live in a community where manufacturing is making such steady gains? You do live there. A majority of surveyed manufacturers in the Greater Canton area are reporting growth and envisioning a promising future, according to a 20-month SYNCHRONIST study conducted by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. From Jan. 1, 2010 to Aug. 5, 2011, the Chamber interviewed 136 businesses — mostly manufacturers and mostly in Canton — as a key component of its economic development program. The results are good news for the Canton and Greater Stark County economy. Here are highlights:

• 57 percent of the businesses indicate that market share for their primary product is increasing.

• 70 percent report sales are increasing.

• 83 percent have introduced new products or services over the last five years.

• 73 percent anticipate new product offerings in the next two years.

• 52 percent are expanding employment.

• 61 percent anticipate that their business will expand in the next three years.

• 96 percent indicate that they would consider this community for future expansion.

The information was collected in a series of confidential, one-on-one interviews with CEOs, presidents, owners or plant managers. The data represents the collective responses from these leaders. “We have a dynamic manufacturing community here,” said Steve Katz, senior vice president at the Canton Regional Chamber and the person who conducted all of the survey interviews. “Businesses surveyed were optimistic about their future.” Most of the markets for the goods produced by these manufacturers exist outside of Stark County, which indicate these manufacturers are bringing wealth back into the Canton-Stark County community. Only 6 percent of the companies said their primary product’s market was local, with 38 percent saying it was regional, another 38 percent saying it was national and 18 percent saying it was international. Of the businesses involved in international trade, 47 percent said their international sales were increasing and another 47 percent said international sales were stable. When asked about the life cycle of the primary product at a business, 12 percent of all responders said it was emerging and 53 percent said it was growing. The companies surveyed report a high degree of leadership stability, with 89 percent reporting no ownership change in the last 18 months and 85 percent reported no management change in the same 18-month period. To delineate responses, the surveyed businesses were asked to respond to several questions on a seven-point scale, with one being the lowest response and seven the highest. On a question about the quality of area workers, the survey showed that businesses rate the quality of area workers as high. Eighty-three of the businesses rated the quality of the workforce in the five-to-seven range. Similarly, 90 of the surveyed businesses rated the stability of the local workforce in the five-to-seven range. Workforce, location and higher education were the top three factors that made these businesses believe Canton and Stark County was a good place to do business. Similarly, the surveyed businesses gave high ratings to the quality of police, fire, emergency response and health services in the community. “These results show that Canton and Stark County are good places to operate and expand a business,” Katz said. “The results also are a testimonial to the quality of the workforce, community services and education here.“ The surveys were conducted in cooperation with the Canton Regional Chamber’s Economic Development Committee, the City of Canton, The Employment Source, the Regional Business Network and the Chamber’s Advantage Canton program. Advantage Canton consists of support from leading businesses for the purpose of pursuing economic development through Chamber activities. For further information, contact: Steve Katz, Senior Vice President, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce 330-458-2062 The full SYNCHRONIST report is now available online. Click here to download.