Manufacturers’ Optimism at 20-Year High, According to New NAM Survey

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

Washington, D.C., March 31, 2017 – 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.

A full write-up of the survey is available here.

Small and medium-sized manufacturers in attendance at today’s meeting included the following:

Drew Greenblatt – NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Chair
President and Owner
Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC
Baltimore, Md.

Charles Wetherington – NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Vice Chair
BTE Technologies, Inc.
Hanover, Md.

Matt Barr
Chairman and CEO
Carolina Color Corporation
Salisbury, N.C.

Doug Magyari
Troy, Mich.

Karen Buchwald Wright
Chairman, President and CEO
Ariel Corporation
Mount Vernon, Ohio

Patricia Miller
Matrix 4, Inc.
Woodstock, Ill.

Julie Copeland
Philadelphia, Pa.

Ed Paradowski
Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation
Beaver Dam, Wis.

Joe Eddy
President and CEO
Eagle Manufacturing Company
Wellsburg, W.Va.

Tom Riordan
President and CEO
Neenah Enterprises, Inc.
Neenah, Wis.

Kellie Johnson
President and CEO
ACE Clearwater Enterprises
Torrance, Calif.

Steve Staub
Staub Manufacturing Solutions
Dayton, Ohio

Small and medium-sized manufacturers are the backbone of the manufacturing industry and at the heart of the NAM’s membership. The NAM’s Power of Small campaign spotlights their important role, contributions and concerns. For more information, visit


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