Walk into the RBC Bearings plant in Torrington, Connecticut and you see why manufacturing is one of the hottest sectors for job growth.
The RBC plant has nearly 200 workers building and supplying ball bearings to plane makers around the world. Bearings are critical parts in airplanes and their engines. From the flaps on a wing going up or down, to the landing gear moving into place there are scores of bearings in every plane.
And right now, business is booming.
We have never really experienced in this country a demand for aircraft products to the level that it is today," says CEO Dr. Michael Hartnett.
RBC is on a roll thanks to record backlogs for new commercial airplanes. Consider the following:
- Last quarter sales grew by 17 percent.
- Aerospace component volume surged 30 percent last year.
- In its current fiscal year, earnings per share are 35.1 percent after growing by 41.1 percent its last fiscal year.
To keep up with demand, RBC has boosted its payroll by 16 percent and is expanding 4 of its 23 plants.
The growth at RBC explains, in part, why manufacturing is one of the fastest growing sectors when it comes to adding workers. More than 420,000 manufacturing jobs have been added since the start of 2010, with more expected to be added this year.
But given the aviation industry's history of boom and bust cycles, are parts suppliers like RBC riding a wave that will come crashing down. Dr. Hartnett doesn't think so. "Maybe we are looking at another recession is 2015, but it seems to us that the strength to the aircraft market is good for that time period," says Hartnett.
In Torrington, the RBC workers see no sign of business slowing down. The plant will ship more than 2.5 million bearings this year. Bearings that will go in Boeingand Airbus planes built this year. A small part playing a big role in the boom in manufacturing and aviation.
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