Industry Growth

NAM Outlook Survey Results Show Record Breaking Optimism in 2018


For the last 20 years the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has conducted the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey with the help of their over 14,000 large and small manufacturing members. The survey is conducted once a quarter to gain insight on manufacturers’ economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions, and business concerns. This year manufacturers reported record breaking optimism.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 there were 539 manufacturing companies who responded to the survey, which was conducted from November 28th to December 12th. The amount of responses from small, medium and large sized manufactures was nearly even, with a slight majority coming from medium sized companies.

The average percentage of respondents that were positive about their own company’s outlook was 92.4% in 2018, an all-time high. Manufacturers are also predicting positive growth rates in sales (4.3 percent), production (4.3 percent), capital investments (2.6 percent) and full-time employment (2.2 percent) over the next 12 months. Manufacturers are very optimistic about business conditions overall, which is likely influenced by their expectation of pro-growth policies like tax reform and regulatory certainty. You can view the full survey results here.

It was no surprise that the major concern of manufacturers was the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce. In the fourth quarter 68.2 percent of companies reported that this was their top concern. Other top concerns included the increasing cost of raw materials and trade uncertainties. According to government data there are now 522,000 open manufacturing jobs in America, which some manufacturers reported as the reason for turning down new business opportunities this year.

If this workforce crisis isn’t resolved the United States is on track to have as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs unfilled by 2028. This challenge will continue to have an impact on manufacturing companies in the years to come. For now we are optimistically looking forward to 2019 and all of the growth that is to come.

Read the full article here.

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Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Another Consistent Month


Each month the Council of Industry writes a blog post discussing the results of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, and since the start of 2018 each post has reported consistent growth for the industry. This month is no exception to that trend. Business activity grew strongly this month and the headline general business conditions index rose two points to 21.1, which suggests faster growth than in September. New orders and shipments also spiked considerably. Additionally, this month saw a slight increase in employment levels; a positive sign for many manufacturing companies that are struggling to find skilled workers to fill their open positions. Employment is expected to increase in the months to come as well. Predictions for the future also remain positive. New York State’s manufacturers are anticipating continued growth throughout the next six months.  Look for our post next month with the results of the November survey to see if this upward trend continues!

Read the full report for a more detailed look at the results.

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Manufacturing Takes a Step into the Future


New technology is continuously revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and making processes more efficient. Many are calling these advancements “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” and if companies take advantage they can become more efficient, increase production and reduce costs. Even small changes that are simple to implement can make a huge impact.

Smarter facilities are making manufacturers more competitive and allowing them to more easily adapt to changes in the market. A popular trend is to update the facility and machinery to create a connected and smart modern factory. This includes making changes to existing equipment, streamlining processes and adopting new technologies.

When an entire facility is interconnected through the use of data, a plant can operate at a level of intelligence and efficiency that was once impossible. “Harnessed directly from sensor-fitted equipment, complex raw data is translated into status charts, annotation notes and to-do lists which are displayed via an interactive touchscreen display, delivering an easily digestible insight into how the factory is operating in that precise moment.” This allows the shop floor to make quicker, more informed decisions throughout the production process, and issues are caught almost immediately.

Even older equipment is being brought into the modern era with the use of sensors. Sensors are “connected to software which can measure key variables such as temperature, pressure, vibration and power consumption, they give machines a voice – and allow engineering to understand the real-time performance of key pieces of equipment.” This new technology transforms legacy equipment into efficient and smart machines.

The success of Industry 4.0 suggests that even more progress will be made in the future, and many believe that virtual reality will one day have a big impact on manufacturing. Factories are continuously getting smarter and huge advancements aren’t far away.

If you’d like to read more about smart factories and the technology changing the manufacturing industry, you can find the full article here.

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New York Manufacturers Report Solid Growth

Federal Reserve


The results for the September 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey are in, and once again firms are reporting solid growth. The industry has remained relatively steady throughout recent years, and firms are remaining optimistic about their six-month outlook. The survey indicates that new orders and shipments are up, and the labor market pointed to an increase in employment levels.

The headline general business conditions index showed ongoing strength, but moved down seven points to 19.0, pointing to a slower pace of growth than last month. New orders and shipments grew moderately. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventories moved higher. Labor market indicators pointed to an increase in employment levels and longer workweeks. Price indexes were little changed and remained elevated, suggesting ongoing significant increases in both input prices and selling prices. Looking ahead, firms remained fairly optimistic about the six-month outlook.

Read the full report for a more detailed look at the results.

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Empire State Manufacturing Survey: The Good News Continues

Federal Reserve

The August 2018 results for the Empire State Manufacturing Survey once again indicate robust growth. Results have been overwhelmingly positive since the start of 2018. This is great news for Manufacturers in the Hudson Valley, and the optimistic projections for the future imply more good news is on the way. 

Business activity remained robust in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed three points to 25.6. New orders and shipments grew strongly, and firms reported an increase in unfilled orders. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventories held steady. Labor market indicators pointed to solid gains in employment and longer workweeks. Price indexes were little changed and remained elevated, indicating ongoing significant price increases. Looking ahead, firms stepped up their capital spending plans and were fairly optimistic about the six-month outlook.

Read the full report for more!

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New York Manufactures Forecast Continued Growth

Federal Reserve

Each month the Federal Reserve Bank of New York distributes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey to about 200 manufacturing companies throughout New York State to analyze industry performance. Around 100 of the 200 companies contacted complete the questionnaire, which asks them to report on specific performance indicators and offer their projections for the upcoming months. The respondents are from diverse sectors of the manufacturing industry, providing an unbiased and accurate pool of feedback. Since the start of 2016 these surveys have generated consistently positive results.

The July 2018 results indicate that business activity continues to grow at a steady pace throughout the state. Labor market indicators point to sturdy growth, and the prices received index signals continued moderate increases in selling prices. The headline general business conditions index also still remains at a high level. These results are promising, and the positive forecasts coming from these companies suggest that robust growth is likely in store for the near future.

You can see the full report with survey results here.

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