Press Releases

Press Releases

NAM Survey: Manufacturing Optimism Dips in Q2 Amid Trade Uncertainties, Workforce Shortage

Urgent Action Needed on USMCA, Other Priorities to Boost Manufacturing Growth

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers today released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2019. In the field during the prospects of tariffs on Mexican goods and still unresolved threat of 232 auto tariffs, the survey shows a dip in manufacturers’ optimism amid trade uncertainties. A positive outlook for their business was registered by 79.8 percent of manufacturers in the second quarter, down from 89.5 percent in the first quarter.

“Clearly, optimism is still strong among manufacturers, but you can’t overlook the fact that trade uncertainties are causing concern for manufacturers,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, who conducted the survey. “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.”

The inability to attract and retain a quality workforce remained manufacturers’ top business concern (68.8 percent) in the second quarter. The survey also found that a majority of manufacturers (56 percent) are concerned about trade uncertainties with regards to the USMCA, a U.S.-China trade agreement, looming 232 auto tariffs and the now-resolved threat of U.S. tariffs on Mexico. In addition, nearly half of manufacturers are concerned about increased raw material prices.

The Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey has surveyed the association’s membership of 14,000 large and small manufacturers on a quarterly basis since 1997 to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns. The NAM releases the results to the public each quarter. Further information on the survey is available here.


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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

Contact us with questions or requests

[email protected]

View More