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Assurance Services, Consulting Services, General, Tax Services • Published 1/16/2018 2018 LEA National Manufacturing Outlook Survey


The Leading Edge Alliance (LEA) produced their 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook Survey to gain insight into the current manufacturing industry conditions. As a Gulf South firm, P&N understands the significance of manufacturing to the regional and national economies.

Over 450 manufacturing executives participated in the survey. Overall, the responses in the survey indicated a more positive outlook about the economy for 2018. Survey respondents noted the growing U.S. and global economies, rising energy and commodity prices and improved business and consumer confidence all support their positive outlook. However, there are still many important challenges that the industry faces this year. 

Survey Highlights

Highlights from the 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook Survey include: 

  • 81% of manufacturers believe their revenue will increase in 2018, with 72% eyeing organic growth in the U.S. as their primary opportunity to increase sales.
  • Manufacturers are more optimistic about the regional and national economy than the global economy, yet notably the optimism rating for all three has increased by more than 10 points since the 2017 outlook.
  • 62% of manufacturers expect their sectors to grow, more than doubling the 2017 outlook; food and beverage and construction materials cite the highest optimism for sector growth.
  • Manufacturers’ top three priorities are growing sales, cutting costs, and addressing the talent gap.
  • As in past years, labor remains a significant challenge. More than half of survey participants cited the labor shortage as the greatest risk or barrier to growth, and more than half of manufacturers expect to increase hiring.
  • Respondents plan to utilize technology to reduce risks and build a competitive advantage; 75% said that they will investigate/prioritize cybersecurity in 2018, and 50% will investigate/prioritize Big Data/ERP/IoT.

How We Help

P&N has experience helping clients with several of the success strategies identified in the LEA survey, including:

  • Cost efficiencies
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Hiring trends
  • Technology

We are committed to continuous learning within the manufacturing industry to better serve our clients. If you have any questions about the strategies discussed in the survey, please contact us

Download 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook Survey  

Manufacturing Outlook & Insights Survey

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