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Manufacturers Say Regulatory Onslaught Stifling Growth

Only 67% of manufacturers are positive about their own company’s outlook.


The National Association of Manufacturers released its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2023, which reveals manufacturers’ mounting concerns over the onslaught of unbalanced federal regulations and the threat that poses to sustaining manufacturing investment, job creation and wage growth.

“Congress and the administration have taken bold steps to support manufacturing in the United States. But the positive effects of tax reform, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act are being undermined by the growing regulatory burden. The unrelenting barrage of regulations threatens to undermine manufacturers’ competitiveness. If the administration’s regulatory onslaught continues, its manufacturing agenda will fail. Unfortunately, we are seeing the signs of exactly that happening,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

Currently, the NAM is engaged actively on nearly 100 regulations that have been proposed or announced by 30 different agencies.

Key Survey Findings:

  • Only 67% of manufacturers are positive about their own company’s outlook. This is down from 74.7% in Q1, making it the lowest since Q3 2020, and before the pandemic, the lowest since Q3 2019.
  • If the regulatory burden on manufacturers decreased, 65% of manufacturers would purchase more capital equipment, and more than 46% would increase compensation.
  • More than 63% of manufacturers report spending more than 2,000 hours per year complying with federal regulations.
  • If Congress were to enact comprehensive permitting reform, simplifying and speeding up the approval process for new projects, 75.1% of manufacturers say it would be helpful, allowing their company to hire more workers, expand business and/or increase wages and benefits.
  • The top challenges facing manufacturers include attracting and retaining a quality workforce (74.4%), weaker domestic economy (55.7%), rising health care/insurance costs (53.1%), unfavorable business climate (52.1%), increased raw material costs (50.8%) and supply chain challenges (44.9%).

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