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Manufacturing proves resilient: What to expect from industry in 2021

Manufacturing has proven resilient in the face of great uncertainty this year. Despite dramatic drops and general pandemic-related volatility earlier this year, the segment has experienced a steady upswing as lockdowns have eased across the country and consumers have started to abandon toilet paper hoarding for somewhat more normal buying habits. 

The October ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index made headlines when it jumped to 59.3, its highest value in over two years. This overall growth is fueled by a strong showing across the board, with heavy growth seen in new total orders, new export orders, higher production, inventories and employment rates. 

This rebound seems to have buoyed manufacturers’ spirits during a volatile year, with most surveyed representatives reporting an optimistic outlook for the next 12 months. Coming out of a year colored by a global pandemic, it is easy to understand why many manufacturers believe 2021 will prove stronger than 2020. 

FreightWaves partnered with Redwood Logistics to assess the current state of the manufacturing industry and assess where it is headed in the new year. The FreightWaves team surveyed manufacturers representing a large swatch of the sector about the outlook. The complete findings are available to download in a free white paper, “Manufacturing Outlook Proves Resilient Despite Uncertainty.”

The white paper examines the various factors involved in the blooming industry recovery. The paper addresses the future outlook for COVID-benefiting sectors such as home improvement supplies and other durable goods as consumers slowly begin to let down their guards and embrace service-oriented spending once again. 

Like domestic manufacturing, imports are on an upswing after slowing to a crawl earlier this year. Manufacturers weighed in on their outlook for foreign manufacturing activity that will result in imports to the U.S. over the next 12 months, with most appearing relatively optimistic. 

Unsurprisingly, truck capacity has steadily tightened alongside renewed manufacturing and import activity. The white paper examines the current state of the market, as well as its expected impact on contract rates in the next negotiation cycle. 

Download the white paper, “Manufacturing Outlook Proves Resilient Despite Uncertainty,” for more insight into the current state of manufacturing, as well as information about what to expect in the new year. 

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.