As the pandemic spread across the country in late spring, we began tracking how the U.S. manufacturing industry was responding in terms of workforce reductions, the cost of goods and materials sourcing. We expected that the industry would maintain or slightly decrease production during the second half of 2020, based on manufacturers’ outlook for fewer orders and a smaller backlog.
The actual results have been better than expected, according to the NAM Manufacturers’ Survey for the second quarter. Despite business interruptions and the extreme challenges faced due to COVID-19, manufacturers have continued operations, with more than 50% of large manufacturers and approximately 73% of small and midsize firms being completely operational. However, only a third of respondents hold a positive view for their company’s future business – a dismal outlook not seen since the first quarter of 2009.