Manufacturing workers' confidence ratings rose 3.7 points in the fourth quarter of 2012 for a high since the first quarter of 2007, according to the Randstad Manufacturing Employee Confidence Index.

"Companies are starting to invest again and, in turn, job creation is following," says Phyllis Finley, executive vice president at Randstad US. "Some of the sectors that have been hiring heavily include automotive, supply chain and advanced manufacturing. Technical and skilled employees within the manufacturing sector are also in high demand."

The research also finds that 28 percent of respondents say the economy is improving, up six percentage points from the previous quarter, and only 33 percent of respondents say the economy is worsening, down four percentage points. Forty-eight percent of workers believe fewer jobs are open, down from 55 percent, while 22 percent of respondents say more jobs are available, up from 13 percent.

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