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National Association of Manufactures'’ Survey: 2018 on Pace for Year of Record-High Manufacturer Optimism.

On the heels of yet another positive employment report showing 18,000 manufacturing jobs were created in September, the NAM released the third-quarter results of its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which shows 2018 is on pace for the highest yearly reading of manufacturer optimism in the survey’s 20-year history.

Optimism remains exceedingly high (92.5 percent) following enactment of tax reform and regulatory relief, with manufacturers across the country keeping our promise to invest in workers and communities and to take the lead on environmental stewardship and workplace safety. The four-quarter average rose to 93.9 percent, the highest one-year average on record. In addition, projected wage growth remains at the fastest pace in 17 years. “Tax reform and regulatory relief have spurred strong manufacturing growth, and manufacturers are now investing in our communities, hiring more Americans and raising wages and benefits,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in a press release.

“Amid all this good news, it is no surprise that manufacturers in 2018 are more optimistic than they have ever been in the history of our survey.” The survey also showed that despite the sustained high levels of optimism, the lack of enough skilled workers continues to pose significant challenges to manufacturers, with 73.2 percent of respondents saying that attracting and retaining a quality workforce remained their top concern.

In addition, the inability to attract a quality workforce has forced more than one in four manufacturers to turn down new business opportunities, while one-third noted they have held off on plans to hire more workers due to workforce constraints.