The stock market experienced a Trump Bump immediately following the 2016 presidential vote, with investors encouraged by the possibility of a more business-friendly atmosphere in Washington. How long will it last? MFG.com, an online manufacturing marketplace, surveyed manufacturers about their expectations for the economy under the Trump administration. According to the report, respondents expressed support for the trade, job and immigration policies proposed by Trump, who will be sworn in Friday. Though companies that source more heavily from offshore expressed some skepticism, the overall belief is that Trump’s policies will be positive for U.S. manufacturing.
When it comes to U.S. manufacturing’s relationship with China, respondents expressed considerable support for labeling China a currency manipulator and for leveling tariffs on Chinese products. Both buyers and sellers of original equipment voiced support for tariffs even at the risk of potentially higher costs for consumer products and industrial inputs.
“With likely plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and implement major tariff and tax law changes, it is crucial to understand the possible impacts facing the manufacturing industry,” says Bo Hagler, CEO of MFG.com. “With this information, we hope to prepare the nation and the manufacturing industry for what is to come and better align ourselves for a more successful future.”
Other results from the survey of 826 companies included:
- Five times as many respondents said keeping manufacturing jobs is more important than low-cost consumer goods. About 40 percent said the two were of equal importance.
- Respondents split on the effect on jobs if trade actions are imposed on countries deemed to competing unfairly, with 42 percent believing jobs would return to the U.S., and 43 percent anticipating those jobs would move to other low-cost countries.
- More than 50 percent believe companies that produce in other countries should be taxed or otherwise penalized in the U.S., about twice as many as those who don’t support a penalty.
- More than 60 percent support renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, while another 11 percent endorse withdrawing completely. Only 17 percent support leaving the agreement as is.
- More than 50 percent believe strong immigration policies will raise labor costs, while only 5 percent expect those policies to result in lower labor costs.
The full report, "How Will President Trump's Policies Affect U.S. Manufacturing," can be found at www.mfg.com