NAM Survey: Manufacturers’ Optimism Reaches Record High Amid Progress on Tax Reform

Results Also Warn Failure to Pass Tax Reform Would Jeopardize Economic Growth

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017, showing manufacturers’ optimism has risen to unprecedented heights amid the legislative progress made on tax reform. With 94.6 percent of respondents saying they are positive about their own company’s outlook, this quarter’s optimism level is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history. Optimism has been at historically high levels throughout the year, averaging 91.8 percent in the four quarters of 2017, up from a 64.3 percent average in 2016.

Failure to enact tax reform would have serious ramifications for manufacturers, the survey also found, with nearly 60 percent of respondents saying they will lose opportunities to grow their businesses and more than 20 percent saying they will be unable to expand their facilities and hire new workers. An overwhelming two-thirds of manufacturers would consider a vote against tax reform as a vote against their businesses.

“Four quarters of record-setting optimism don’t happen by accident,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “It is the direct result of manufacturers witnessing a sea change in policymaking in Washington, D.C., empowering them to hire more, invest more and build more—all in America. These incredible numbers demonstrate the absolute urgency of getting tax reform signed into law because manufacturers are saying loudly and clearly that more jobs, better pay and manufacturing growth are on the horizon. This also serves as a warning to lawmakers: Fail to get this done, and American manufacturing workers will suffer the consequences of inaction.”

In addition, the results show more than three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed support the current tax reforms being debated in Congress. Nearly 63 percent of respondents said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending, and more than half said they would expand their businesses (57.9 percent) and hire more workers (53.8 percent), while nearly half would increase employee wages and benefits (48.8 percent).

For 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. Further information on the survey is available here.


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit