Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Second Quarter 2019

2018 was a banner year for many manufacturers, with optimism reaching an all-time high as recorded in
the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. In the field during the prospects of tariffs on Mexican goods and still unresolved threat of 232 auto tariffs, the 2019 Second Quarter Survey shows a dip in manufacturers’ optimism amid trade uncertainties. 79.8 percent of manufacturers registered a positive outlook for their business in the second quarter, down from 89.5 percent in the first quarter.

Despite the immediate challenges and uncertainties businesses face, the manufacturing sector continues to expand, albeit more slowly, and business leaders in the sector continue to be mostly upbeat.


Optimistic about their company's outlook.


Cite trade uncertainties as top challenge.


Cite inability to find skilled workers as top challenge.

Clearly, optimism is still strong among manufacturers, but you can’t overlook the fact that trade uncertainties are causing concern for manufacturers. All things equal, I would expect these numbers to improve if we get the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement across the finish line, strengthen our trading relationships by removing the threat of 232 auto tariffs and get a trade deal with China done.”

– NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray.

NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Second Quarter 2019