ST. PAUL - Minnesota manufacturers are starting the year with an optimistic outlook, with most saying they expect business conditions to either improve or stay the same in 2019.

That was the takeaway from an annual survey released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Most of the 249 state manufacturers who responded to the survey in November said their business had improved or remained stable in 2018.

Forty-seven percent of respondents expect business to improve this year, while an equal percentage expect it to remain the same.

“I am encouraged that Minnesota manufacturers are optimistic about the upcoming year,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “Manufacturing is an industry that impacts every corner of the state and is critical to the success of our economy.”

Manufacturing is Minnesota’s largest industry by gross domestic product, and supports more than 320,000 jobs in the state.