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Unlocking Insights from MTForecast 2023

Data on the auto industry and small and medium-sized manufacturers will shape U.S. manufacturing. Positive trends noted despite economic fluctuations. AMT’s analyst shares findings to help manufacturers plan for the future.
Oct 30, 2023

In the ever-changing world of manufacturing, staying informed about industry trends and forecasts is crucial for business planning and growth. The recent MTForecast 2023 event, hosted by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, provided a vital platform for the latest insights and trends shaping the industry’s future. In this era of rapid change and innovation, businesses in the manufacturing sector must closely monitor industry developments. MTForecast goes beyond sharing information; it equips industry professionals with valuable insights necessary to adapt and thrive in coming years. 

Small and Medium-sized Manufacturers – Critical to U.S. Economy  Roger Atkins, representing the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), highlighted the role that small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMBs) play in the industry. He revealed that 98% of all U.S. firms consist of 100 employees or fewer, and among these, 93% are involved in some form of manufacturing. These businesses have a considerable impact on the U.S. supply chain and economy. Despite facing challenges, the manufacturing sector has exhibited remarkable resilience. Employee work hours held consistent at 40-43 hours per week throughout the pandemic, and the backlog of orders averaged 16-19 weeks, demonstrating demand and stability. While the job shop futures forecast predicted stability for the next six months, Atkins voiced concerns about the sluggish adoption of automation among SMBs, with only a 33% adoption rate in its latest survey. NTMA's insights emphasized the need for reshoring initiatives and improving global competitiveness. 

Automotive Outlook  Yen Chen, a principal economist at the Center for Automotive Research, delivered a presentation that unveiled the automotive industry's performance in 2023: year-to-date (YTD) sales for 2023 experienced a notable 14.1% increase. General Motors (GM) secured the top position in market share, making a leap from 18.1% to an impressive 19%. The automotive industry is currently undergoing a phase of recovery, with positive trends observed in both sales and production. However, economic conditions remain mixed. While there is an increase in wages and consumer purchasing power, this positive effect is being counteracted by rising interest rates and inflation. Although current U.S. auto sales remain below the longterm trend, Chen was optimistic that sales will continue to grow in the next two years. A surprising big-picture takeaway from Chen's presentation involved the relationship between GDP growth and vehicle sales; he revealed that economic growth is no longer solely tied to vehicle sales as it once was. 

MTForecast 2023 provided a wealth of insights and a glimpse into manufacturing’s future. AMT encourages industry enthusiasts to engage actively in ongoing discussions, and to mark their calendars for the upcoming MFG Meeting in 2024 and MTForecast 2024, where industry leaders will convene to address key challenges and develop innovative solutions. For those seeking in-depth market research and tailored insights, we invite you to contact AMT’s research team at research.amtonline.org. Our dedicated team is prepared to provide expert guidance, ensuring that you navigate the dynamic manufacturing landscape with precision and confidence. Read more economic insight at AMTonline.org/topic/intelligence. 

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Author
Huan Gu
Analyst
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