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

By April 18, 2017General

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

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

Jennifer Drogus

Jennifer Drogus

Director or Media Relations at National Association of Manufacturers
Jennifer Drogus is the Director of Media Relations at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industrial trade association and the leading voice for the manufacturing sector in the United States. She is responsible for coordinating media and strategic communications to promote the NAM’s policy agenda. Ms. Drogus specifically focuses on media relating to International Economic Affairs, Tax and Domestic Economic Policy, which includes key topics such as trade, investment policy issues and economic conditions for the manufacturing sector.Ms. Drogus also coordinates media for the NAM’s Chief Economist.
Jennifer Drogus

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