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74% of LI manufacturers added employees during the height of COVID-19

Kaushik Sengupta, a management professor at Hofstra who

Kaushik Sengupta, a management professor at Hofstra who is working on the supply chain index. Credit: Hofstra University

More than seven in 10 manufacturers on Long Island added jobs during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Thursday.

In an ongoing poll by Hofstra University, 74% of 70 factories said they had hired people in the past six months. Thirty-eight percent said they plan to boost employment in the next six months.

The hiring by manufacturers in the spring, when other types of businesses were shut down because of the pandemic, is in sharp contrast to layoffs at restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and other hospitality companies.

The poll is the basis of the 2020 Hofstra-Long Island Manufacturing Supply Chain Index, an economic indicator developed four years ago. Preliminary results were released Thursday during a virtual event.

"The manufacturing sector is doing very well, still hiring people through this pandemic," said Kaushik Sengupta, a management professor at Hofstra who is working on the supply chain index. "Only a small minority of manufacturers plan to decrease their workforce in the next six months."

Asked about future hiring, 17% of manufacturers said they will cut jobs in the next six months while 38% plan to add employees. Forty-five percent said they will maintain their current employment level.

GSE Dynamics Inc., a defense contractor in Hauppauge, has added six jobs to its pre-coronavirus payroll of 74 people.

"We were able to scoop up people pretty quickly" who had been laid off, said Anne Shybunko-Moore, company president. "And that looks like what others were able to do as well" based on the Hofstra poll, she said.

About 76,000 people work for 3,000 manufacturers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to the Workforce Development Institute in Albany.

"Manufacturers in our region are not just sustaining, but thriving," said Shybunko-Moore, who leads the manufacturers’ trade group Ignite Long Island.

She joined Jim Peeples, president of the Canadian trucking company Challenger Motor Freight Inc., and manufacturing expert Michael Lobsinger for the 90-minute virtual panel discussion. John Costanzo, president of LDK Global Logistics consultants in East Norwich and founder of the supply chain index, served as moderator.

Nearly 90 local manufacturers have taken the Hofstra poll so far. To participate, send an email to Sengupta at Kaushik.Sengupta@hofstra.edu.

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