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SURVEY: Manufacturers Remain Resilient as Recession Concerns Rise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers released its Q2 2022 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which shows manufacturers’ significant concerns around recession, inflation, hiring and China competition legislation. The NAM conducted the survey May 17–31, 2022.

“Through multiple crises, manufacturers have proven remarkably resilient, but there’s no mistaking there are darker clouds on the horizon. A majority of our surveyed members believe inflationary pressures are making a recession more likely within the next year,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has undeniably exacerbated higher energy and food costs. This, along with record deficit spending since the pandemic began, has created the highest inflation since 1981. But actions here at home can help ease these pressures, including first and foremost harnessing every energy resource available to us domestically and quickly—and refraining from imposing new taxes on manufacturers or families. It also means acting on manufacturers’ solutions to our supply chain challenges and passing the China competition bill—or Bipartisan Innovation Act. Though it won’t solve every issue, this will give us many of the tools needed to ramp up domestic manufacturing and strengthen our supply chains. That’s why 88% of manufacturers in our survey see it as an important piece of legislation—and Congress needs to move swiftly to get it to President Biden’s desk.”

Key Findings:

  • In the survey, 59.3% of manufacturing leaders believed inflationary pressures would make a recession more likely in the next 12 months.
  • Increased raw material costs topped the list of primary business challenges in the second quarter, cited by 90.1% of respondents.
  • Three-quarters of manufacturers felt inflationary pressures were worse today than six months ago, with 53.7% noting that higher prices were making it harder to compete and remain profitable.
  • The top sources of inflation were increased raw material prices (97.2%), freight and transportation costs (83.9%), wages and salaries (79.5%) and energy costs (55.9%), with 49.4% also citing a shortage of available workers.
  • When asked about what aspects of the China competition legislation were most important for supporting manufacturing activity, 70.9% of respondents cited addressing port congestion and competition issues in ocean shipping.

Despite ongoing economic headwinds, manufacturers remain largely optimistic, with 82.6% of respondents maintaining a positive outlook for their company.

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