Optimism is running high in the manufacturing sector as vaccine rollouts and economic results gain steam, but concerns about labor and raw materials lead the list of industrial concerns for 2021, a survey showed today.
Manufacturers’ optimism reached its highest level in two years, jumping to to nearly 88% in the first quarter after lingering at 74% in the fourth quarter of 2020 and sputtering along at just 34% when the pandemic emerged in the second quarter of last year, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
More specifically, nearly 88% of manufacturers said they were either somewhat or very positive about the outlook for their company, showing a rebound from previous malaise in the group’s first survey since the Biden administration took office, the NAM said.
“Our industry is creating new jobs and investing in new projects, buoyed by signs that we may finally be getting COVID-19 under control,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a release. “Of course, our industry knows we are not out of the woods yet. That’s why we continue to lead by example, wearing face coverings and promoting vaccination. The smart health protocols are more important than ever. This is our shot—not just to end the pandemic but to build a new and stronger economy that creates opportunity for all.”
In additional results from the survey, companies pointed to the top two challenges they now face, naming increased costs of raw materials (76%) and the inability to attract and retain talent (66%). Other top worries included: rising health care and insurance costs (50.9%), transportation and logistics costs (50.2%), supply chain challenges with inventory management (48.7%), and an unfavorable business climate, including taxes and regulations (44.0%).
Our first Outlook Survey of 2021 showed the highest level of optimism among manufacturers in 2 years. Nearly 88% of manufacturers said they were either somewhat or very positive about the outlook for their company. https://t.co/3319UXCZVD— The NAM (@ShopFloorNAM) March 9, 2021