Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Fourth Quarter 2023

The National Association of Manufacturers Q4 2023 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey shows that small companies with fewer than 50 employees and medium-sized firms with between 50 and 499 employees, which make up a vast majority of the sector, continued to have historically lower levels of optimism with 65.9% and 63.0% positivity rates in Q4, respectively.

The NAM conducted the survey from November 14 to December 1, 2023.

Key Findings:

  • 89% of respondents said higher tax burdens on manufacturing activities would make it more difficult to expand their workforce, invest in new equipment or expand facilities.
  • Workforce challenges also continue to dominate the sector, with more than 71% of manufacturers citing the inability to attract and retain employees as their top primary challenge.
  • A weaker domestic economy and sales for manufactured products (63.7%), an unfavorable business climate (61.1%) and rising health care and insurance costs (59.8%) are also impacting manufacturing optimism.

NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Fourth Quarter 2023