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Nearly 2 Out of 3 Small Manufacturers Expect Growth in the Next 6 Months [Report]

by: Mike Hockett, ThomasNet

While very large companies dominate news headlines in the manufacturing space, a new survey taking the pulse of small firms indicates that nearly two in three expect business growth over the next six months — a night-and-day difference from a year earlier.

On-demand manufacturing marketplace Xometry released the results of its latest Small Manufacturing Index on March 29, showing signs of renewed optimism despite nearly half of the firms acknowledging that business impacts from COVID-19 will last throughout the majority of 2021.

Conducted earlier in March, the survey polled suppliers within Xometry’s marketplace and outside of its network. Overall, 64% of manufacturers said they anticipate business over the next six months will increase. That’s more than double the 28% that said so in Xometry’s March 2020 survey, when the pandemic was just ramping up in intensity across North America.

A few other key data points from the March 2021 survey:

  • 56% of respondents reported a mild to strong increase in recent business compared to a year earlier.

  • 46% expect the pandemic to have a continued effect on business over the next six months.

  • 47% plan to hire during the April-June quarter, and 50% said finding skilled employees is a challenge for their six-month hiring plans.

  • 44% indicated rising materials cost as their top concern in the near-term going forward. Cash flow management was second at 33%.

  • Asked to choose which industry vertical will comprise the largest share of business over the next six months, Industrial Machinery was respondents’ top choice at 38%, followed by Automotive (32%), Aerospace & Aviation (31%), Medical (27%), and Government & Defense (23%). Automotive had a 107% increase compared to Xometry’s March 2020 survey.


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