Survey: Manufacturers Stay Course Amid Virus

Production in the manufacturing sector fell 18.5 percent between February and April, and the manufacturing workforce declined by at least 1.3 million.

Against that backdrop, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) conducted its quarterly Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey from May 4 to 15. Despite the challenges, the survey found that operations continue at the vast majority of manufacturers.

Among findings:

  • Most manufacturers—67 percent— continued operations. Thirty-two percent of manufacturers temporarily halted part of their operations.
  • More than one in five manufacturers adapted operations to produce personal protective equipment; 67 percent re-engineered processes to elevate health safety measures.
  • Even in the context of rising unemployment, 50.5 percent of manufacturing leaders who responded to the survey say they anticipate trouble in attracting and retaining employees in the next 12 to 18 months.

Respondents identified ways in which they were most affected by the pandemic. At the top of the list: business travel. Eighty-six percent reported limiting it, followed by requiring flexible work arrangements (78.3 percent), supply chain disruptions (59.5 percent), unplanned production stops (49.6 percent), furloughing workers (39.8 percent) and pay cuts (22.2 percent).