Policy and Legal

Press Releases

Overregulation and Workforce Challenges Weigh Heavily on Manufacturing Sector

Optimism Sinks to Pandemic Lows in Q3 Outlook Survey

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers released its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2023, which registered the lowest level of optimism among NAM members (65.1%) since Q2 2020, as the sector continues to confront a tight labor market, unbalanced federal regulations and critical policy debates in Congress.

“Manufacturers continue to be challenged in today’s economy, but what this survey makes clear is that unbalanced federal regulations are harming families and communities, with nearly two out of three manufacturers reporting that the regulatory burden is preventing them from hiring more workers or increasing pay and benefits,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Congress and the administration can help correct this trend by restoring sensible regulations, enacting further permitting reforms, taking action to keep our tax code competitive and other bipartisan steps to strengthen manufacturing in America and build on the progress we achieved with tax reform, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and more.”

Key Survey Findings:

  • Only 65.1% of respondents felt positive in their company’s outlook, edging down from 67.0% in the second quarter. It was the fourth straight reading below the historical average (74.9%).
  • Concern about an unfavorable business climate was the highest in six years (Q2 2017).
  • The survey found that 69.1% of small manufacturers, and 63.2% of all respondents, would hire more workers or increase compensation if the regulatory burden decreased.
  • More than 70% of manufacturers would purchase more capital equipment if the regulatory burden on manufacturers decreased, with 48.6% increasing compensation, 48.6% hiring more workers, 42.5% expanding their U.S. facilities and 38.4% investing in research.
  • The top challenges facing manufacturers include attracting and retaining a quality workforce (72.1%), weaker domestic economy (60.7%), rising health care/insurance costs (60.1%), unfavorable business climate (56.7%), increased raw material costs (45.5%) and supply chain challenges (37.8%).

You can learn more at the NAM’s online regulatory action center here.

The NAM releases these results to the public each quarter. Further information on the survey is available here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.91 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Timmons on Regulations: Make Them “Sensible and Achievable”
Overregulation Hurts Manufacturing
Workforce Retention Begins with Culture at Ketchie
View More