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COVID-19 Pandemic Manufacturing Recovery: What U.S. Manufacturers Are Reporting (SURVEY)

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, October 21, 2020


Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau has been surveying small businesses across the U.S. on the Pandemic’s impact on operations, providing compelling insight into how the Pandemic has affected everything from employment and revenue to supply chains and outlook on a weekly basis.

Over 200,000 small businesses across the nation have participated in this Small Business Pulse Survey with responses collected on between April 26th and October 12th. The survey is targeted towards single-location businesses with 1-499 employees and receipts of $1,000 or more.

These responses provide a valuable look at how the Coronavirus Pandemic has impacted small businesses across multiple industries and regions – including manufacturing.

Today, we’re going to break down the results of the survey as it pertains to U.S. manufacturing companies, including specific information on revenue, employment, supply chain issues and outlook, and provide insight into the specific needs of manufacturers as the recovery takes hold.

Overall Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Manufacturing Companies

Although it might seem obvious, it is encouraging to know that although manufacturers are still being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the impact on manufacturing is much less so than it was earlier in 2020.

At the start of the Census Bureau’s weekly survey, encompassing data from April 26th to May 5th, 46.6% of manufacturing companies reported a largely negative business impact related to the Pandemic.

Fast forward to its most recent survey (October 4th-October 12th), and that figure drops to 27.8% of manufacturers reporting a largely negative business impact.

In fact, the manufacturing sector is less negatively impacted than the national average across all sectors (30.2%) in this most recent survey.

Sectors like educational services; accommodation and food services; and arts, entertainment & recreation have been much more severely impacted, ranging from 53% to 59%. By contrast, sectors like utilities; finance & insurance; and construction have been less negatively impacted.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Revenues

The Census Bureau also asks about revenues, providing some eye-opening stats on just how much impact the Pandemic has had on sales.

Starting May 17th, the Census Bureau reported that just 4% of small manufacturers reported revenues of $500,000 or more in the previous month (4/17/20-5/17/20).

However, the most recent survey results in October reveal that 20% of small manufacturers are reporting revenues of $500,000 or more.

Additionally, manufacturing was among the top sectors to report declining revenue at the beginning of the Pandemic, with 74.1% reporting a fall in revenue April 20th to April 25th.

By contrast, in the most recent survey October 4th-October 12th, that figure fell to 29.8% reporting a decline in revenue.

In addition, 10.4% of manufacturers reported an increase in revenue in the most recent survey in October compared to 7.4% of manufacturers at the beginning of the Pandemic.

Even more interesting, 1.3% of manufacturers report the Pandemic has had a largely positive impact on their business in this most recent survey, compared to 0.8% at the beginning of the Pandemic.

Looking Ahead: Manufacturers’ Outlook & Future Needs

Looking at the most recent survey results, collected in October, 23% of manufacturers said they anticipated needing financial assistance or additional capital in the next six months.

Additionally, when asked how long it would take their business to return to a normal level of operation relative to one year ago:

• 4.1% responded 2-3 months
• 16.3% responded 4-6 months
• 43% responded more than 6 months

A minimal number of manufacturers (5.7%) said they did not believe their operation would return to normal operations, while another 1.2% reported their operation had permanently closed.

Meanwhile, an encouraging 12.1% of manufacturers reported having returned to a normal level of operation, slightly ahead of the national average of 11.7%.

Another 16.8% reported the Pandemic has had little to no effect on operations.

Taking a look at employment:

• 4.3% of manufacturers plan to rehire furloughed employees.
• 8.9% reported an increase in employees, while 10.6% reported a decrease

Supply Chain Disruptions

Roughly half (49.6%) of manufacturers experienced supply chain disruptions at the start of the Pandemic. In the most recent survey, supply chain disruptions appear to persist, though not as much as before. Here are the stats:

• 38.3% reported a delay in domestic supplier deliveries
• 14.4% reported a delay in foreign supplier deliveries
• 15.3% reported difficulty in locating alternate domestic suppliers
• 4% reported difficulty in locating alternate foreign suppliers
• 22.3% reported production delays
• 28.5% reported delivery/shipping delays to customers

Looking for suppliers? Search, source and quote for free on the industrial marketplace IndustryNet.

Regional Impact

For all small businesses in the past week, New York, California, Nevada and Alaska were the hardest hit, with 35% to 42% reporting an overall negative impact to their businesses. Many mountain and Great Plains states were less affected, with Idaho reporting 13.7% overall negative effect and Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas hovering around 20%, below the national average of 30.2%.

Many Midwest states, with the exception of Illinois, also reported less of a negative impact, with Indiana faring the best in the region, with 20.6% of small businesses reporting a negative impact.

In the U.S. South, the state of Arkansas reported the least negative impact, at 20.8%, and in New England, Vermont fared the best at 20.4%. The Mid-Atlantic region continues to be hard-hit, with negative impact significantly higher than the national average.

You can see the full results of the Census Bureau’s survey here.

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Now, more than ever, U.S. manufacturing companies are in need of trusted partners and suppliers.

If you provide a valuable service or product to industrial companies, whether it be financial services, staffing, shipping/freight and more, now is the time to get in touch.

IndustrySelect is a tool that can help you get in direct contact with 500,000 U.S. industrial companies and their one million executives. Click here to learn more.

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