COVID Uncertainties Cloud Manufacturers’ Outlook

The costs of healthcare, economic and global uncertainty, and attracting qualified workers are major concerns for manufacturing executives.

Minneapolis, MN (November 5, 2020) – The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a long shadow over Minnesota’s manufacturers, triggering the deepest plunge in manufacturers’ expectations for their companies since the Great Recession of 2009, according to the 2020 edition of Enterprise Minnesota’s State of Manufacturing® survey. A record low number of companies expect increased revenues in 2020; the number of executives who fear recession has increased seven-fold, and confidence in the business climate has sunk to half of what it was in 2018.

See the full 2020 State of Manufacturing results and analysis here.

2020 State of Manufacturing Chart -Business Metrics 1092x615
Expectations for Key Business Metrics declined significantly.


“The effects of the 2020 COVID economy have hit all areas of manufacturing differently. Some manufacturers are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing demand, while others are struggling to keep solvent. Once reliable supply chains have for some become unstable and unresponsive,” said Bob Kill, president & CEO of Enterprise Minnesota. “But one major takeaway from this year’s survey is that manufacturers continue to be resilient problem-solvers with a get-it-done attitude. They continue to adapt to changing demands and have worked very hard to not cut employee compensation.”

2020 survey highlights include:

  • Roughly two-thirds of manufacturers across the board said that COVID-19 has impacted their business plan for 2020.
  • The survey revealed a significant increase in the number of manufacturers who fear recession, 36%, up from just five percent in 2019.
  • Half of the manufacturers interviewed cite health care costs as their most “pressing concern,” making it the top issue for the survey’s 12th year. That number is down, however, from 58% in 2019.
  • Although “Attracting and retaining a qualified workforce” dropped down on the list of issues named as impediments to growth, 62% of manufacturers say it’s difficult to find qualified workers, even in a pandemic.

The State of Manufacturing® is a comprehensive annual survey of Minnesota manufacturing executives that gauges their perceptions on the state of their business, their outlook on the economy and other issues impacting business and employees. Complete survey results, analysis and cross-tabulations are available at

Pollster Rob Autry of Charleston, SC.-based Meeting Street Research, conducted phone interviews with 400 manufacturing executives, representing a geographically proportional cross-section of Minnesota between Sept. 8—Oct. 7, 2020. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. The research was complemented by 11 focus groups of manufacturing executives from around the state.

Enterprise Minnesota president & CEO Bob Kill is available for interviews. Please contact Robert Lodge to schedule an interview: [email protected] or 651-216-2860.

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