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U.S. Manufacturers Continue to Have Record High Optimism about the Economy

“[T]his year we have seen the highest consecutive three-quarter average [of optimism among U.S. manufacturers]—90.9 percent having a positive outlook for their company—in the survey’s history.”

2017 Third Quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey

National Association of Manufacturers

September 29, 2017

In the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the historically high levels of optimism that U.S. manufacturers expressed during the first two quarters of 2017 continued unabated through the third quarter. In March, 93.3 percent of respondents were positive about their own company’s outlook, an all-time high in the survey’s 20-year history.


As a result, this year we have seen the highest consecutive three-quarter average—90.9 percent having a positive outlook for their company—in the survey’s history.

After years of economic headwinds, uncertainties and policy setbacks, since the 2016 election the survey has shown positive indicators about the health of the manufacturing sector, both in the U.S. and globally.

The current data suggest that manufacturing production should grow 3.6 percent between now and the first quarter of 2018… This indicates that activity should continue to pick up in the coming months, with output in the sector currently growing 1.2 percent year-over-year.

Manufacturers are optimistic about the chance that long-sought-after comprehensive business tax reform will be enacted into law.

In this survey, more than 87 percent of respondents said that a comprehensive plan that included these tax policy changes would address their concerns with the current tax system.

In general, the survey results and comments indicate support for a simpler and modern tax code that would allow manufacturers to be more competitive in the global marketplace. Along those lines, nearly 65 percent of respondents said that comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending…This was closely followed by significant proportions suggesting that they would expand their businesses (64.3 percent), hire more workers (57.3 percent), increase employee wages and benefits (52.2 percent), and invest more dollars in the community (34.2 percent).

Read the full survey here.



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