More than 80 percent of Americans believe that safer, cleaner and more energy-efficient production are the most important manufacturing issues in today’s economy, according to an Opinion Research Corporation ( survey sponsored by Rockwell Automation (, a provider of automation power, control and information solutions for manufacturers. The survey results also show that most Americans believe that highly automated, modern factories are important to improve and grow the U.S. economy and that a federal government stimulus package should support an increase in the number of modern, automated factories.

When considering the most important characteristics they look for in a manufacturing company, survey respondents chose:
• Provide safe, quality products (86%)
• Provide a safe workplace (84%)
• Use natural resources efficiently (80%)
• Produce minimal waste (71%)
• Keep current prices or reduce prices (59%)

Regarding government incentives to modernize U.S. manufacturing facilities, 79% of survey respondents voted in favor of such programs. According to survey respondents, U.S. manufacturers should invest in technologies that:
• Use energy, raw materials or natural resources more efficiently (92%)
• Continue to remain competitive and grow (89%)
• Minimize waste and other environmental impacts (86%)
• Provide safer, high quality products (85%)
• Respond more quickly to customer demands (85%)
• Provide a safer workplace (83%)

When determining their support for a federal stimulus package that improves U.S. manufacturing operations, Americans voted the following characteristics as most important:
• Provide safe, quality products that are always available when I need them (89%)
• Keep product prices at current or reduced level (85%)
• Maintain the current number and types of jobs available (85%)
• Automate and modernize factories (74%)
• Provide higher-paid, high-skilled jobs (62%)

Nearly half of Americans (42%) surveyed believe the U.S. has lost its competitive edge in manufacturing technology and automation, and think the manufacturing sector in this country has gotten less competitive in the last 10 years. Only 18 percent believe U.S. manufacturing technology is more advanced than other countries, and only about one-third (34%) noted the U.S. has become more competitive in the past 10 years.

These findings are based on surveys conducted by The Opinion Research Corporation during January 15-18, 2009 and May 2008. Results of each survey are based on telephone interviews conducted among representative samples of 1,001 adults, age 18 and over, living in private households, in the continental United States. All completed interviews were weighted by four variables: age, gender, race and region to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the total sample. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.