Press Releases

Press Releases

Manufacturers: Creators Wanted!

Industry Concern Over Workforce Challenges Grows Despite Record Growth in Sector

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers released its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2021. “Attracting and retaining a quality workforce” and “rising raw material costs” remain manufacturers’ biggest concerns for the second straight quarter. Despite those concerns, manufacturers predicted some of the highest expected growth rates in the survey’s history and the most positive outlook since the third quarter of 2018.

“Manufacturers see an incredible future on the horizon and are predicting growth numbers unheard of in the more than two-decade history of this survey,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “But yet, a dark cloud still hangs over the industry. Manufacturers face long-term workforce challenges, with a record-high 851,000 open manufacturing jobs right now and more than 4 million to be filled over the next decade. While a very serious concern, manufacturers are doing everything we can to meet this challenge. The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted campaign, including a first-of-its-kind mobile manufacturing experience, will cover thousands of miles in the second half of this year tackling the top two issues facing this critical workforce challenge: a skills gap and misperceptions about modern manufacturing.

“To keep this momentum going, elected leaders in Washington should advance policies that will enhance our competitiveness and strengthen our industry, starting with delivering bipartisan infrastructure investment. Failing to do so will rob generations to come of the opportunity to achieve their highest potential. Conversely, moving forward with proposed tax increases, as our studies have shown, would mean 1 million jobs lost in just the first two years. Anti-worker laws like the forced unionization PRO Act would upend our workplaces. Whether today’s manufacturing optimism is a passing moment or a new normal has a lot to do with the choices our elected leaders make.”

Survey highlights:

  • 90.1% manufacturer optimism, highest since Q3 2018
  • 3.7% expected growth in full-time employment, a record high
  • 6.1% expected growth in sales over the next 12 months, a record high
  • 5.9% expected growth in production over the next 12 months, a record high

Read the full Q2 2021 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey results here.

Background on Creators Wanted:

The NAM, together with the MI, launched the Creators Wanted campaign, an unprecedented national effort to build the modern manufacturing workforce of tomorrow. By 2025, Creators Wanted aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, as well as increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%.

Creators Wanted is part of a digital campaign together with a first-of-its-kind mobile traveling manufacturing experience, and it is part of sustained initiatives at the MI targeting youth, veterans, women and other underrepresented communities.


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 more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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

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