Manufacturing

The Manufacturing Economic Update


Dr. Chad Moutray

Chief Economist - National Association of Manufactures
Director, Center for Manufacturing Research - The Manufacturing Institute

NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey by Quarter, 1997-2020

(Recessions Are Highlighted with Gray Shading)


Note: Percentage of respondents who characterized the current business outlook as somewhat or very positive.


NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey by Quarter

(First Quarter 2019 –  Third Quarter 2020)


Note: Percentage of respondents who characterized the current business outlook as somewhat or very positive.

NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey

(Change in Manufacturing Activity in Third Quarter Relative to Second Quarter 2020)


Source: NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey

NAM Manufacturers' Outlook Survey, Third Quarter 2020

When Firms Expect Revenues to Return to Pre-COVID-19 Levels


Bar chart showing when firms expect revenue to return to pre-covid-19 levels, with the majority thinking the first half or second half of 2021.

NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey Primary Business Challenges

(Third Quarter 2020)


Note: Respondents were able to check all that apply. Therefore, responses  exceed 100 percent.

ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index®

(August 2019 – August 2020)


Line chart of manufacturing purchasing managers index including new orders, production, employment and exports from August 2019 - August 2020.

Monthly Percentage Changes in Manufacturing Production

(March – August 2020)


Bar chart showing Monthly Percentage Changes in Manufacturing Production, durable goods and nondurable goods March - August 2020.

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Year-Over-Year Industrial Production Growth

(August 2019 – August 2020)


Line chart showing year over year growth in industrial production, manufacturing, durable goods and non durable goods from August 2019 - August 2020.

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Manufacturing Production and Capacity Utilization

(January 2008 to 2020)


Line chart showing manufacturing production and capacity utilization from 2008 - 2020

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Monthly Percentage Change in Manufacturing Production

by Major Sector, August 2020



Bar chart showing monthly percentage change in manufacturing production by major sector in August 2020.

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Largest Grouping of Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April 2020 

Manufacturing Production for Select Industries Since 2015 (2012=100), Seasonally Adjusted


Line chart showing declines by manufacturing sector, including motor vehicles and parts, textiles and products, primary metals, apparel and leather goods, furniture and related products, printing and related supporting activities, aerospace and misc. transportation equipment.

Source: Federal Reserve Board


Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April (February to August in Parenthesis)

Motor vehicles and parts, -83.5% (-2.0%)
Apparel and leather goods, -32.0% (-8.9%)
Printing and related support activities, -31.3% (-17.4%)
Textiles and products, -28.0% (-12.4%)
Furniture and related products, -27.7% (-11.2%)
Aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, -27.5% (-9.6%)
Primary metals, -25.5% (-19.5%)

Middle Grouping of Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April 2020 

Manufacturing Production for Select Industries Since 2015 (2012=100), Seasonally Adjusted


Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April (February to August in Parenthesis) Plastics and rubber products, Petroleum and coal products, Miscellaneous durable goods, Machinery, Nonmetallic mineral products, Wood products, Fabricated metal products.

Source: Federal Reserve Board


Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April (February to August in Parenthesis)

Plastics and rubber products, -24.5% (-6.3%)
Petroleum and coal products, -23.8% (-14.0%)
Miscellaneous durable goods, -23.1% (-4.8%)
Machinery, -22.1% (-9.2%)
Nonmetallic mineral products, -19.9% (-7.9%)
Wood products, -15.3% (-4.4%)
Fabricated metal products, -14.9% (-10.2%)

Smallest Grouping of Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April 2020

Manufacturing Production for Select Industries Since 2015 (2012=100), Seasonally Adjusted


Smallest Grouping of Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April 2020 in the new north region including electrical equipment and appliances, food, beverage and tobacco, chemicals, computer and electronic products, and paper.

Source: Federal Reserve Board


Declines by Manufacturing Sector, February to April (February to July in Parenthesis)

Electrical equipment and appliances, -11.9% (-11.5%)
Food, beverage and tobacco, -10.1% (-3.1%)
Chemicals, -5.8% (-2.8%)
Computer and electronic products, -5.1% (+1.1%)
Paper, -3.7% (-8.8%)

Manufactured Durable Goods Orders and Shipments

(August 2019 – August 2020, in Billions of Dollars)


Manufactured Durable Goods Orders including new orders, new orders excluding transportation, shipments, and shipments excluding transportation. and Shipments August 2019 - August 2020

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Core Capital Goods New Orders and Shipments, 2010–2020

(in Billions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted)


Line chart of Core capital goods new orders and shipments for 2010 - 2020

Note: "Core capital goods" are nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft.  

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Indices® for the Top 10 Export Markets for U.S. Manufactured Goods

(August 2020)


Bar chart showing IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Indices® for the  Top 10 Export Markets for U.S. Manufactured Goods in August 2020 - Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, UK, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Brazil, France.


Note: Top 10 Export Markets Based on 2019 Data from the U.S. Commerce Department

Source: IHS Markit


Global Manufacturing PMI: 51.8
Emerging Markets Manufacturing PMI: 52.5
Eurozone Manufacturing PMI: 51.7
U.S. Manufacturing PMI (Markit): 53.1

Global IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Indices®, including for the Top 10 Export Markets for U.S. Manufactured Goods

(Candlestick Chart for January through August 2020)


Sliding chart for Global IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Indices®, including for the    Top 10 Export Markets for U.S. Manufactured Goods including global, the US, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, UK, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Brazil, France.

Note: Top 10 Export Markets Based on 2019 Data from the U.S. Commerce Department

Source: IHS Markit

Trade-Weighted U.S. Dollar Index Against Broad Index of Currencies, Goods and Services, 2014–2020

(Currency Units per U.S. Dollar, January 2006=100)


Line chart showing trade weighted dollar against index of currencies. Call out note states: The U.S. dollar has risen 8.5% since February 1, 2018. Overall, the U.S. dollar has risen 24.1% since July 1, 2014. More recently, the U.S. dollar has fallen 7.2% since April 24, 2020.

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2005–2020


Line chart showing monthly unemployment rate from 2005 - 2020 with sharp spike in Spring of 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Monthly Change in Manufacturing Employment, 2020

(in Thousands of Workers)


Monthly change in manufacturing employment, showing large dip in April of 2020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Monthly Employment in Manufacturing, 2010–2020

(in Millions of Workers)


Line chart showing change in monthly employment in manufacturing from 2010 to 2020 with a sharp dip in spring 2020. 

Changes in Manufacturing Employment by Sector Since February

(in Thousands of Workers, February to August 2020)


Bar chart of change in Manufacturing employment by sector February 2020 to August 2020 in over 15 sectors.