Small Manufacturing Index, Q1 2018, shows high business confidence and an increase in hiring

See what the latest Q1 2018 SMI results show about how the majority of small manufacturers in the U.S. feel about the market in the near future compared to a year ago.

By Shilpa Garg · March 26, 2018

Over 75% of all manufacturing firms in the United States have fewer than 20 employees. The Xometry Small Manufacturing Index (SMI) highlights the outlook of these 190,000+ small businesses on a regular basis.

The latest Q1 2018 SMI results showed that the majority of small manufacturers in the U.S. are more optimistic about the market in the near future than they were a year ago, but are slightly less so than they were in Q3 2017. Headcount has increased or remained the same since 2017 for the majority of the small manufacturers surveyed, and 4 out of 10 are planning to hire more employees in the near future.

  • 34% of Xometry manufacturing partners surveyed expect a strong increase in business vs. 14% for non-Xometry network manufacturers


  • 40% of small manufacturers surveyed said that they are planning to hire more employees in the coming year, while 55% said that they will maintain the same number of employees.

    • Over 47% of Xometry manufacturing partners surveyed expect an increase in hiring vs. 30% for non-Xometry network manufacturers


The Small Manufacturing Index, released quarterly by Xometry, takes the pulse of the heart of American manufacturing by analyzing and quantifying the performance of small to mid-size manufacturers. The index is developed through a survey that asks members whether they expect to see growth in business compared to previous months and prior years, what they expect to be their anticipated growth sector, actual hiring and expected hiring trends.

The Small Manufacturing Index is drawn from Xometry’s partner network of small to mid-size manufacturers as well as from out-of-network shops. The index aims to highlight trends over time to provide analysis and predictions on the national outlook for small to mid-size manufacturers.

The Xometry Partner Network provides members with real manufacturing jobs through our online platform without the need for their own marketing, sales, or bidding. Our nationwide network includes over 1,000 machine shops and small and medium-sized manufacturers in over 44 states. We provide product designers and engineers the most efficient way to source high-quality custom parts, with 24/7 access to instant pricing, expected lead time and manufacturability feedback. Our nationwide network of partner manufacturing facilities enables us to maintain consistently fast lead times while offering a broad array of capabilities, including CNC Machining, 3D Printing, Sheet Metal Fabrication, Injection Molding and Urethane Casting. Xometry has over 9,000 customers, including BMW, General Electric and NASA.

For press inquiries, contact Bill Cronin, Senior Vice President, Marketing at bcronin@xometry.com. We are also happy to provide references for manufacturing partners that are available to speak with you.