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Sixty-Four Percent of Small Manufacturers Anticipate Growth as Business Confidence Rebounds to Pre-COVID Levels

The report surveyed both Xometry Suppliers and small manufacturers outside Xometry’s network, and showed a significant rebound in business confidence for manufacturers, with 56% reporting a mild- to strong-increase in business, compared to the same time last year.

By William Krueger
 3 min read
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60% of Small Manufacturers Unlikely to Hire in Upcoming Quarter Citing Difficulty in Finding Skilled Employees
September 21, 2020
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Xometry, the nation’s largest on-demand manufacturing marketplace, released the findings of its Small Manufacturing Index report. The report surveyed both Xometry Suppliers and small manufacturers outside Xometry’s network, and showed a significant rebound in business confidence for manufacturers, with 56% reporting a mild- to strong-increase in business, compared to the same time last year. Over the next six months, Xometry Suppliers anticipate this rebound to continue, with 67% expecting a mild- to strong-increase in business compared to only 61% of external respondents.

The report also reveals that:

  • COVID-19 remains a concern, with 46% of small manufacturers expecting it to have an impact on their anticipated business for the next six months.
  • 47% of small manufacturers plan on hiring this quarter, with 50% of respondents reporting that the ability to find skilled employees is having an impact on hiring plans for the next six months.

As small manufacturers begin to look ahead to a post-COVID world, 44% identified the rising costs of materials as their number one concern. Thirty-three percent of respondents also identified cash flow management as another main concern.

“Small manufacturers are beginning to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel and optimism is abundant,” said Laurence Zuriff, Chief Strategy Officer, Xometry. “While COVID is certainly not over, manufacturers are in a position to start looking ahead, and we expect the industry to play a vital role in accelerating the American economy.”


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How would you rate your anticipated business for the next six months?

Small manufacturers anticipate Industrial Machining to make up the largest share of their business for the next six months. Those anticipating Automotive to make up a large share of their business rose 107% compared to the same time last year, as automotive plants went through lengthy idle periods in 2020. The Medical industry remains a steady source of work, with manufacturers anticipating it to make up around 27% of their business for the next six months, as manufacturers continue to meet the needs of producing essential equipment to fight COVID. 

With business confidence up, hiring has rebounded with 47% of small- to mid-sized manufacturers looking to hire in the next six months. However, the ability to find skilled employees is having an impact, with 50% of respondents citing it as the primary barrier to filling open positions. 

Download an infographic of the Small Manufacturing Index insights

About the Small Manufacturing Index

The Small Manufacturing Index,  by Xometry, takes the pulse of American manufacturing by analyzing and quantifying the performance of small- to mid-sized manufacturers. The index is developed through a survey that asks participants about their business growth and hiring plans compared to previous months and prior years. The index aims to highlight trends over time to provide analysis and predictions on the national outlook for small- to mid-size manufacturers.

William Krueger
As a digital marketing specialist, William works with all forms of media from photography and video to content writing and graphic design to tell the story of American manufacturing. He holds a B.A. in Communication from Wittenberg University.

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