According to a new survey, optimism among manufacturers showed a decline for a second consecutive quarter. The latest National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)/IndustryWeek survey of manufacturers indicates that the compounding effects of Washington's inaction and the slowing global economy may mean uncertainty for the future of business across the country.

Results of the survey, which was conducted among 514 manufacturers in a variety of industries of various sizes, included:

  • 78.7 percent of manufacturers surveyed cited that the uncertainty related to the political climate, such as the looming fiscal abyss and pending budget cuts, was the top challenge for their businesses.
  • 69.4 percent of manufacturers identified rising healthcare and insurance costs as their second-most important challenge.
  • 62.4 percent identified the unfavorable business climate, resulting from taxes and regulations, as another primary concern.
  • The percentage of respondents who were "somewhat negative" nearly doubled from 15.8 percent in the second quarter to 29.6 percent in the third quarter.

"Manufacturers are sending a clear message that Washington's action or inaction can have a serious effect on our economy," said NAM chief economist Chad Moutray. "The Congressional Budget Office has already warned that falling into the fiscal abyss will mean a recession next year, and manufacturers are not optimistic that Washington will be able to set us back on track in time. Unless Washington takes bold action to address the economic and political uncertainty and puts in place a pro-growth business climate, we can expect to see more dismal economic growth and pessimism from manufacturers."

To read the full survey results, visit www.nam.org.