2016 Manufacturers' Outlook Survey - Third Quarter

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Regulations, Health Care Top Concerns

The third quarter NAM 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey shows manufacturers continue to cope with policy headwinds.

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NAM Manufacturing Outlook Index



(June: 42.3)

Numbers greater than 50 suggest the manufacturing outlook is above average, coinciding with an expanding sector.

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Expected Growth Rate Over the Next 12 Months 



(June: 61.7%)

Arrow Green Up1.9%


(June: Up 1.6%)

Arrow Green Up2.1%


(June: Up 1.5%)

Arrow Green Up0.4%


(June: Up 0.2%)

Arrow Green Up0.8%


(June: Up 0.6%)

Arrow Green Up 0.8%


(June: Up 0.06%)

Arrow Green Up 0.4%


(June: Up 0.2%)

Arrow Red Down 0.7%


(June: Down 1.0%)

Arrow Green Up 1.5%


(June: Up 1.5%)

Arrow Green Up 8.5%


(June: Up 8.3%)


Manufacturers’ Sentiments 


Manufacturing sentiment dropped substantially for smaller manufacturing firms (fewer than 50 employees), with just 48.7 percent positive in their outlook in this survey, down from 56.1 percent.

of respondents were positive in their outlook in this survey, down from 56.1 percent.

Manufacturers on Health Care


Rising health insurance costs were cited as their top business challenge (Figure 4), cited by nearly three-quarters of manufacturers completing the survey.

Manufacturers on Regulatory Burdens 


The cumulative burden of ever-increasing regulations comes at a cost. Manufacturers surveyed felt that government regulation stifles economic growth, disproportionately hurts small businesses, creates bureaucratic red tape and slows innovation.


The NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly among the National Association of Manufacturers’ membership of small, medium and large manufacturers. Contact us today to learn more about NAM membership.

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  • 09/14/2016
    New Survey Results: Regulations, Health Care Costs Manufacturers’ Top Concerns
    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the results of its third quarter 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, showing concerns over rising health care costs and regulatory compliance top the list of barriers to growth for manufacturers.
  • 06/16/2016
    Survey Says: Manufacturing Outlook Edges Up in Second Quarter
    NAM released the results of its second quarter 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, showing an uptick in overall sentiment.
  • 03/09/2016
    NAM Survey: Business Leaders Remain Anxious in First Quarter

    The NAM issued the first quarter results of its 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey today. The report shows a continued decline in sentiment among manufacturing executives and anxiety over the faltering global business climate.

  • 12/08/2015
    NAM Survey: Economic Outlook Diminishes in Fourth Quarter
    The NAM released its fourth quarter 2015 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey today, revealing a five-point drop in the NAM Manufacturing Outlook Index and that manufacturers continue to cite an unfavorable business climate as their top business challenge.
  • 09/10/2015
    NAM Survey: Manufacturers Continue to Feel Economic Challenges
    The National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) third quarter installment of its 2015 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey reveals that although two-thirds of manufacturers polled remain positive, economic and policy challenges continue to curb their optimism.
  • 06/10/2015
    New Survey Shows Frustration Among Manufacturers
    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released its updated Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey on Wednesday revealing an expected slowdown in exports, sharply highlighting the need for pro-growth policies like Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.