The survey found that 86.1 percent of respondents were either somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook, the highest sign of manufacturer confidence since the fiscal cliff debate of 2012.
Despite this uptick in optimism, the survey also shows that Washington continues to be the major source of the burdens facing manufacturers. The top business challenge, cited by 79.0 percent of respondents, was an unfavorable business climate due to taxes, regulations and government uncertainties, including Washington’s inability to solve problems. Rising health care and insurance costs followed closely behind, with uncertainties attributed mostly to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Key survey findings include the following:
- 86.1 percent of respondents were either somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook.
- Manufacturers plan to increase their spending by 1.9 percent during the next 12 months, up from 1.4 percent in December.
- 79.0 percent cited the unfavorable business climate due to taxes, regulations and government uncertainties as their top business challenge.
- 77.1 percent named rising health care and insurance costs as a primary business challenge, with uncertainties surrounding the ACA.