Manufacturers’ optimism has risen to unprecedented heights amid the legislative progress made on tax reform, according to the results of the Manufactures' Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017.
The study, conducted by The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), found that 94.6% of respondents say they are positive about their own company’s outlook.
This quarter’s optimism level is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history.
Optimism has been at historically high levels throughout the year, averaging 91.8% in the four quarters of 2017, up from a 64.3% average in 2016.
Failure to enact tax reform would have serious ramifications for manufacturers, the survey also found, with nearly 60% of respondents saying they will lose opportunities to grow their businesses and more than 20 % saying they will be unable to expand their facilities and hire new workers.
An overwhelming two-thirds of manufacturers would consider a vote against tax reform as a vote against their businesses.
“Four quarters of record-setting optimism don’t happen by accident,” said Jay Timmons, CEO of NAM. “It is the direct result of manufacturers witnessing a sea change in policymaking in Washington, D.C., empowering them to hire more, invest more and build more—all in America.
“These incredible numbers demonstrate the absolute urgency of getting tax reform signed into law because manufacturers are saying loudly and clearly that more jobs, better pay and manufacturing growth are on the horizon.
“This also serves as a warning to lawmakers: Fail to get this done, and American manufacturing workers will suffer the consequences of inaction.”
In addition, the results show more than three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed support the current tax reforms being debated in Congress. Nearly 63% of respondents said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending, and more than half said they would expand their businesses (57.9%) and hire more workers (53.8%), while nearly half would increase employee wages and benefits (48.8%).