COVID-19A survey of CEOs of leading equipment manufacturers found that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the U.S economy, companies still face significant challenges. While the industry has seen some improvements to operations and financial outlook, executives say they face a long and uncertain road back to normal.  

This is the second survey conducted by AEM on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the industry, their companies, supply chain and manufacturing operations, their financial expectations, as well as the challenges they face and specific ways the federal government can keep equipment manufacturing strong. 

The survey’s key findings include: 

  • Three quarters of respondents said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overall economy is still very negative, while just under half said that the impact on the industry is equally bad.  

  • One-third of respondents said they plan to lower their financial outlook by up to 30 percent over the next 30 days, while another one in eight respondents indicated they expect to reduce their outlook for the rest of the year by up to 30 percent. 

  • Executives said that employee health and well-being, lack of new orders, and continued supply chain challenges are the three biggest issues they face as they re-open their facilities.  

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on the industry’s workforce. More than one-third of respondents said they have furloughed up to half of their employees, while roughly one in five of respondents indicated that they have laid off as many as 10 percent of their workforce.  

  • The road to recovery is lined with warning signs. For equipment manufacturers who have furloughed workers, more than a third said they would not bring anyone back to work. For those who laid off workers, eight out of ten said they will not rehire them based on current market conditions and challenges. 

  • More than eight out of 10 respondents said they would like to see a significant investment in infrastructure to help keep equipment manufacturers in business during the crisis and set the stage for the economic recovery. 

  • Looking ahead, a clear majority of respondents said that the equipment manufacturing sector is not getting the support it needs from the federal government as it continues to navigate the various challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In a press release announcing the findings, AEM’s Dennis Slater said that while “it is very encouraging that equipment manufacturers are adjusting to the new normal and re-opening all of their facilities, the impact of this unprecedented crisis is far from over and will be felt for a very long time.” According to the survey equipment manufacturers have not received the support they need from the federal government, and Slater said that “it is therefore imperative that they take immediate and aggressive steps to support our industry.” 

AEM continues to lead the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is working closely with state and federal officials to help contain the spread of COVID-19, keep equipment manufacturing in America strong, and ensure the nation’s economic resilience. AEM has also called for bold action from Congress and federal agencies, including additional support to ensure small and medium-sized equipment manufacturers have access to the cash they need to keep operations going. 

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