The US Manufacturing Outlook for 2017

5112611364_5dc352e16d_mEven with the wildcard of the US Presidential election still undecided on Halloween, Forbes Magazine published an article forecasting a positive 2017 for US manufacturers. The article cited a few good signs, including growth in wages, retail sales, and the PMI (Purchasing Manager’s Index).

Forbes is not the only source of optimism for manufacturing forecasts. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) published its October report on October 13th, and indications are that despite concerns about Brexit, which are significant, US manufacturing continues to grow, albeit slowly.

The real missing piece of the puzzle in these forecasts, of course, was who was going to be elected the next President of the United States. Manufacturers always hold their collective breaths during Presidential election years, and this contentious election was certainly no exception.

The Trump Factor

Now that Donald Trump has been elected the next President of the United States, how is the outlook for US manufacturing looking? Some of that answer depends upon which specific sector you are speaking about. A post recently reported that the forecast for the automotive industry is mixed based on Trump’s election. Trump could potentially ease some burdens while making other facets of the industry harder to handle.

The mining industry is reacting positively so far to Trump’s election, which could spell great news for rig manufacturers, among others. Fortune Magazine reported that some shale firms are getting back to work, and Money Magazine reported that metallurgical coal also may make a comeback.

Marketwatch reports that the defense and aerospace industry will likely benefit heavily from a Trump Presidency. The primary reason for this optimism is that it is expected military spending will be easier to get through, not only with Trump as President but also with a Republican majority in Congress.

While there are many reasons for optimism, some are warning that those feelings should be tempered by other factors. Trump has promised to bring back many manufacturing jobs, but as reports, manufacturing in some sectors has evolved to the point where there simply are not as many positions to fill. The article says,

It bears noting that the nature of the new manufacturing growth may only be deepening the political problem of manufacturing. Trump promises to “bring back” millions of manufacturing jobs for dispossessed workers by modifying the terms of trade: by renegotiating NAFTA, rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and slapping China with tariffs. But the fact that the U.S. manufacturing sector has been succeeding by many measures in recent years makes Trump’s promises seem like false dreams.

What are your feelings about manufacturing in 2017? Are you on the optimistic side, or are you feeling a little more restrained in feeling hopeful? We would love to hear from you.

Image Credit: via Creative Commons