Despite slower than expected movement on the legislative front, manufacturers in the United States continue to show historic levels of optimism. In the most recent National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Quarterly Outlook Survey, which covers data from April – June 2017, over 89% of manufacturers said they had a positive outlook for their own company. This is only a slight drop from a few months earlier, when manufacturers reported an unprecedented 93% rate of optimism.
NAM contributes this continued positivity to the expectation of “pro-growth policies” from the Trump administration, which many manufacturers hope will address some of the existing tax and regulatory burdens. When asked about the regulatory actions taken by the Trump administration so far, over 80% of manufacturers said they approved, with 57% saying they believed the actions taken thus far would reduce overall regulatory burdens.
However, with nearly 29% of survey participants reporting they were “unsure” if the country was headed in the right direction, NAM says it is possible some manufacturers are “grappling with political uncertainty.” Despite this, more than half of manufacturers said they believe the country is headed in the right track.
When it comes to top business challenges, manufacturers said rising healthcare and insurance costs (75%); attracting and retaining a quality workforce (64%); and an unfavorable business climate (56%) remain top concerns.
In Maryland, 96% of manufacturers reported their recent sales have been “good,””very good” or “extremely good,” according to a survey of nearly 100 Maryland manufacturers by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland.
It is concerning, however, that close to 20% of survey respondents said they were unfamiliar with the More Jobs for Marylanders Act, which provides tax incentives for manufacturers who create new jobs in Maryland. For a complete overview of the More Jobs for Marylanders Act and how it affects manufacturers, check out this blog post.
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