2018 NAM Outlook Survey
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2018. This survey shows manufacturers’ optimism for the year reached the highest level on record in the 20-year history of the survey. 92.4 percent of manufacturers surveyed reported a positive outlook for their companies.
Highlights from the fourth quarter survey include:
The majority of manufacturers (88.7 percent) have a positive outlook of their businesses, putting the average for 2018 at 92.4 percent—the highest annual average in the survey’s 20-year history.
Optimism among small manufacturers remained high at 87.9 percent.
Manufacturers predict strong growth rates in employee wages (2.3 percent), capital investments (2.6 percent) and sales (4.3 percent) over the next 12 months.
Attracting and retaining a quality workforce remained manufacturers’ top concern (68.2 percent).
The inability to attract a quality workforce has forced more than one in four manufacturers to turn down new business opportunities.
Increased raw material costs and trade uncertainties marked the second- and third-largest challenges for manufacturers, at 65.1 percent and 60.4 percent, respectively.