As Manufacturers Meet President Trump to Talk Regulations, Taxes and Infrastructure, Industry Is More Confident in Improving Business Climate

by Jennifer Drogus
March 31, 2017

Washington, D.C., Fresh off the heels of the third straight month of manufacturing job growth, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today released the first Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey since President Donald Trump took office. The survey shows a dramatic shift in sentiment, with more than 93 percent of manufacturers feeling positive about their economic outlook. This is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history, up from 56.6 percent one year ago and 77.8 percent in December.

The NAM’s release of the survey coincided with a meeting of small and medium-sized manufacturers at the White House today.

“Across America, manufacturers’ optimism is soaring, in no small part because of President Trump’s laser-like focus on pursuing bold action, particularly on rethinking red tape to address regulatory reform, to accelerate a jobs surge in America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“As the survey shows, manufacturers of all sizes are now less concerned about the business climate going forward because they are counting on President Trump to deliver results. Small manufacturers—more than 90 percent of our membership—are among the hardest hit by regulatory obstacles. Regulatory costs for small manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees total almost $35,000 per employee per year—money that could otherwise go to creating jobs. It’s encouraging to see an administration so focused on providing regulatory relief to spur manufacturing growth.

“We are grateful for the chance to meet with the president today as we continue to tell the White House directly which regulations are still the biggest obstacles to a manufacturing surge. There is much work to be done, and manufacturers have the solutions on regulatory reform as well as on infrastructure investment, workforce development, bold comprehensive tax reform and a host of other issues.”

The survey shows not only a positive outlook but also that concerns about the business environment have dropped. When manufacturers were asked to identify top challenges to their business, concerns about the business environment fell to third place. This had previously been respondents’ top concern since the question was added to the survey in 2011.

For the past 20 years, the NAM has surveyed its membership of more than 14,000 large and small manufacturers to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns. The NAM releases these results to the public each quarter.