The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017, showing manufacturers’ optimism has risen to unprecedented heights amid the legislative progress made on tax reform. With 94.6% of respondents saying they are positive about their own company’s outlook, this quarter’s optimism level is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history. Optimism has been at historically high levels throughout the year, averaging 91.8% in the four quarters of 2017, up from a 64.3% average in 2016.
In addition, the results show more than three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed support the current tax reforms being debated in Congress. Nearly 63% of respondents said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending, and more than half said they would expand their businesses (57.9%) and hire more workers (53.8%), while nearly half would increase employee wages and benefits (48.8%).