WA manufacturers' economic outlook differs from other employers


An Association of Washington Business survey of about 250 Washington manufacturers this spring found that while they aren’t quite as certain that a recession is coming soon (40% of manufacturers expect Washington to enter a recession in the next year compared to 47% of non-manufacturers), they are taking more concrete steps to prepare in case a downturn comes.

Thirty percent of manufacturers have delayed hiring compared to 23% of other businesses and 46% have delayed capital expenditures (38% for non-manufacturers).

Supply chain challenges linger: Manufacturers were nearly twice as likely to say supply chain disruptions remain a top challenge for their business (41% compared to 24% for non-manufacturers).

Ongoing inflation: The survey shows inflation has hit manufacturers harder than other businesses: 43% of manufacturers say prices have increased by 11-20% and another 22% are facing even higher costs. Non-manufacturers have mostly seen 6-10% increases.

Workforce shortages: Statewide workforce challenges seem to be particularly impacting manufacturers: 44% said they have positions they have been unable to fill compared to 35% of other employers. Just over a quarter said it’s taking longer to fill positions but they are finding ways to cope. Thirty-seven percent of non-manufacturers said that’s the case.

Share your perspective: AWB conducts a survey each quarter of WA employers to gauge economic outlook. Look for an invitation to participate in the fall survey in an upcoming edition of Making Washington.


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