NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Fourth Quarter 2017

In the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey from the Natonal Association of Manufacturers (NAM), manufacturers’ optimism has risen to unprecedented heights, driven by their belief that the progress the White House and Congress have made on enacting bold, comprehensive tax reform shows that leaders in Washington are finally embracing policies to help manufacturers in the United States successfully compete in the global marketplace. With 94.6 percent of respondents saying they are positive about their own company’s outlook (Figure 1), 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 American manufacturers, as nearly 60 percent said they would lose opportunities to grow their business and more than 20 percent said they would 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 business.