The National Association of Manufacturers released its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2021. “Attracting and retaining a quality workforce” and “rising raw material costs” remain manufacturers’ biggest concerns for the second straight quarter. Despite those concerns, manufacturers predicted some of the highest expected growth rates in the survey’s history and the most positive outlook since the third quarter of 2018.

“Manufacturers see an incredible future on the horizon and are predicting growth numbers unheard of in the more than two-decade history of this survey,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “But yet, a dark cloud still hangs over the industry. Manufacturers face long-term workforce challenges, with a record-high 851,000 open manufacturing jobs right now and more than 4 million to be filled over the next decade. While a very serious concern, manufacturers are doing everything we can to meet this challenge. The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted campaign, including a first-of-its-kind mobile manufacturing experience, will cover thousands of miles in the second half of this year tackling the top two issues facing this critical workforce challenge: a skills gap and misperceptions about modern manufacturing.

“To keep this momentum going, elected leaders in Washington should advance policies that will enhance our competitiveness and strengthen our industry, starting with delivering bipartisan infrastructure investment. Failing to do so will rob generations to come of the opportunity to achieve their highest potential. Conversely, moving forward with proposed tax increases, as our studies have shown, would mean 1 million jobs lost in just the first two years. Anti-worker laws like the forced unionization PRO Act would upend our workplaces. Whether today’s manufacturing optimism is a passing moment or a new normal has a lot to do with the choices our elected leaders make.”

Survey highlights:
• 90.1% manufacturer optimism, highest since Q3 2018
• 3.7% expected growth in full-time employment, a record high
• 6.1% expected growth in sales over the next 12 months, a record high
• 5.9% expected growth in production over the next 12 months, a record high

Background on Creators Wanted

The NAM, together with the MI, launched the Creators Wanted campaign, an unprecedented national effort to build the modern manufacturing workforce of tomorrow. By 2025, Creators Wanted aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, as well as increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25 percent and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50 percent from 27 percent.
Creators Wanted is part of a digital campaign together with a first-of-its-kind mobile traveling manufacturing experience, and it is part of sustained initiatives at the MI targeting youth, veterans, women and other underrepresented communities.

MI and NAM Honor Manufacturing Leader

The Manufacturing Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers released a statement on the passing of Emily Stover DeRocco, former President of The Manufacturing Institute:

“Our industry has lost a true leader on workforce development,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “Under her leadership, the Institute developed a national portal of industry-recognized Manufacturing Skills Certifications that have influenced today’s secondary and post-secondary education efforts in 36 states. Emily’s efforts helped put a spotlight on the changing workforce needs in manufacturing and the policies needed to meet these greatest challenges. As we remember and honor her many contributions, our thoughts and prayers are with the DeRocco family.”

“Emily was a true champion to our nation’s workforce and was passionate about manufacturing,” said NAM President and CEO and Chair of the MI Board of Directors Jay Timmons. “She served former President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as well as many other political leaders on workforce development initiatives where her voice and leadership helped usher in a renewed focus in this country on matching education programs with the skills needed to build the modern manufacturing workforce. Although Emily will be sorely missed, there is much to celebrate in the life she lived and the example she set. She is an inspiration to us and to the Manufacturing Institute and manufacturing community which she was proud to serve.”

About The National Association of Manufacturers

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63 percent of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.

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Established in 1986, IMD is a monthly publication that serves the owners and managers of America’s most diversified job shops, machine shops, OEM / MRO, contract manufacturers and production line manufacturing. This dedicated metalworking audience is the driving force behind U.S. manufacturing. Our readership is audited by EDA (Equipment Data Associates). EDA is audited by (Verified Publication Audit).