NAM/IndustryWeek 4Q 2014 Survey of Manufacturers: Survey Results

NAM/IndustryWeek 4Q 2014 Survey of Manufacturers: Survey Results

The NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers has been conducted quarterly since 1997. This quarter’s survey was conducted among NAM membership between November 13 and 26, 2014, with 317 manufacturers responding. Responses came from all parts of the country, in a wide variety of manufacturing sectors and in varying size classifications. Aggregated survey responses appear below. The next survey is expected to be released on Monday, March 9, 2015.

  1. How would you characterize the business outlook for your firm right now?
    1. Very positive – 22.7%
    2. Somewhat positive – 68.5%
    3. Somewhat negative – 8.5%
    4. Very negative – 0.3%

Percentage that is either somewhat or very positive in their outlook = 91.2%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect to happen with your company’s sales?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 16.5%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 32.3%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 28.5%
    4. Stay about the same – 17.4%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 3.5%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – 0.9%
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – 0.9%

Average expected increase in sales consistent with these responses = 4.5%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect to happen with prices on your company’s overall product line?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 1.9%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 5.4%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 41.8%
    4. Stay about the same – 47.2%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 2.8%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – 0.9%
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – none

Average expected increase in prices consistent with these responses = 1.5%

  1. Over the next year, what are your company’s capital investment plans?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 18.7%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 13.0%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 16.1%
    4. Stay about the same – 39.6%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 3.8%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – 2.8%
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – 6.0%

Average expected increase in investment plans consistent with these responses = 2.3%

  1. Over the next year, what are your plans for inventories?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 5.1%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 8.2%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 18.7%
    4. Stay about the same – 53.8%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 10.8%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – 2.8%
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – 0.6%

Average expected increase in inventories consistent with these responses = 1.1%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect in terms of full-time employment in your company?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 4.4%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 14.2%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 31.0%
    4. Stay about the same – 45.6%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 2.8%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – 0.9%
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – 0.9%

Average expected increase in full-time employment consistent with these responses = 2.1%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect to happen to employee wages (excluding nonwage compensation such as benefits) in your company?
    1. Increase more than 5 percent – 3.8%
    2. Increase 3 to 5 percent – 23.6%
    3. Increase up to 3 percent – 57.9%
    4. Stay about the same – 13.8%
    5. Decrease up to 3 percent – 0.3%
    6. Decrease 3 to 5 percent – 0.3%
    7. Decrease more than 5 percent – 0.3%

Average expected increase in wages consistent with these responses = 2.0%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect to happen to employee benefit costs?
    1. Increase more than 10 percent – 27.6%
    2. Increase 5 to 10 percent – 40.0%
    3. Increase up to 5 percent – 23.5%
    4. Stay about the same – 8.6%
    5. Decrease up to 5 percent – 0.3%
    6. Decrease 5 to 10 percent – none
    7. Decrease more than 10 percent – none

Average expected increase in benefit costs consistent with these responses = 6.3%

  1. Over the next year, what do you expect to happen with the level of exports from your company?
    1. Increase more than 5 percent – 15.2%
    2. Increase 3 to 5 percent – 9.4%
    3. Increase up to 3 percent – 14.5%
    4. Stay about the same – 54.5%
    5. Decrease up to 3 percent – 3.9%
    6. Decrease 3 to 5 percent – 1.3%
    7. Decrease more than 5 percent – 1.3%

Average expected increase in exports consistent with these responses = 1.2%

  1. What are the biggest challenges you are facing right now?

(Respondents were able to check more than one response; therefore, responses exceed 100 percent.)

  1. Attracting and retaining a quality workforce – 56.7%
  2. Challenges with access to capital or other forms of financing – 5.4%
  3. Rising energy and raw material costs for our products – 30.6%
  4. Rising health care/insurance costs – 77.1%
  5. Unfavorable business climate (e.g., taxes, regulations, government uncertainties) – 63.4%
  6. Weaker domestic economy and sales for our products – 33.4%
  7. Weaker global growth and slower export sales – 26.8%

 

  1. What is your company’s primary industrial classification?
    1. Apparel and allied products – none
    2. Beverages and tobacco products – 0.3%
    3. Chemicals – 6.6%
    4. Computer and electronic products – 2.5%
    5. Electrical equipment and appliances – 5.7%
    6. Food manufacturing – 2.8%
    7. Furniture and related products – 0.3%
    8. Leather and allied products – 0.6%
    9. Machinery – 9.7%
    10. Miscellaneous manufacturing – 19.2%
    11. Nonmetallic mineral products – 1.6%
    12. Paper and paper products – 2.8%
    13. Petroleum and coal products – 0.9%
    14. Plastics and rubber products – 7.2%
    15. Primary metals or fabricated metal products – 28.6%
    16. Printing and related activities – 1.3%
    17. Textile mills or textile products – 0.9%
    18. Transportation equipment – 5.0%
    19. Wood products – 3.8%

 

  1. What is the size of your firm (e.g., the parent company, not your establishment)?
    1. Fewer than 50 employees – 26.8%
    2. 50 to 499 employees – 50.8%
    3. 500 or more employees – 22.4%

Reactions to the Midterm Election

  1. Do you think the United States is headed in the right direction, or is our country on the wrong track?
    1. Right direction – 9.1%
    2. Wrong track – 72.7%
    3. Unsure – 18.2%

 

  1. Given the outcome of the 2014 midterm election, are you more optimistic or less optimistic for policymakers to address our long-term challenges?
    1. More optimistic – 64.8%
    2. About the same – 19.7%
    3. Less optimistic – 4.2%
    4. Uncertain—ask me again in a few months – 11.3%

 

  1. How will the election results affect your business? (Check all that apply.)
  1. More likely to increase employment – 15.2%
  2. More likely to increase business investment – 20.0%
  3. More likely to increase your company’s business outlook for 2015 – 36.8%
  4. No changes in employment, business investment or outlook – 38.4%
  5. Uncertain – 21.3%

 

  1. What do you see as the most pressing priorities for the Obama Administration and the 114th Congress? (Check all that apply.)

TOP FIVE CHOICES:

  1. Reducing the regulatory burden on manufacturers and other businesses – 82.8%
  2. Slowing the growth of entitlement spending – 79.2%
  3. Passing comprehensive tax reform – 74.0%
  4. Controlling rising health care costs – 73.7%
  5. Finding a long-term federal budget deal that tackles the deficit/debt – 70.5%

Health Insurance Costs

  1. What are your expectations for health insurance cost increases for 2015?
  1. Increase of 15.0 percent or more – 17.5%
  2. Increase of 10.0 to 14.9 percent – 33.4%
  3. Increase of 5.0 to 9.9 percent – 32.5%
  4. Increase of less than 5.0 percent – 12.0%
  5. No change – 2.9%
  6. Decrease of less than 5.0 percent – 1.0%
  7. Decrease of 5.0 percent or more – none
  8. Uncertain – 0.6%

Average expected increase in health insurance costs consistent with these responses = 9.5%

  1. Assuming you offer health insurance to your employees, do you expect to make any changes for the next plan year? (Check all that apply.)
  1. Keep offering the same plan – 49.8%
  2. Increase employee share of premiums – 38.4%
  3. Increase copays and deductibles – 41.7%
  4. Narrow provider networks – 6.8%
  5. Stop providing coverage – 1.6%
  6. Our company does not provide health insurance – 1.0%

Trade Promotion Authority

Manufacturers in the United States need Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to open new overseas markets, level the playing field and secure better access to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders.

  1. Do you support President Obama and Congress working together to enact new TPA legislation that expired more than 10 years ago?
    1. Yes – 67.2%
    2. No – 6.6%
    3. Uncertain – 26.2%

Of those companies expecting increased exports over the next 12 months (see Question #9),

78.6% support TPA enactment, with 16.2% uncertain.

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