Manufacturers cite proposed federal tax hikes and workforce shortages as their priority concerns according to a new survey released this week.

The National Association of Manufacturers' third quarter 2021 Manufacturers' Outlook survey shows 87.5% of manufacturers remain optimistic in their economic outlook, although concerns are growing.

This week's U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows a record 889,000 manufacturing job openings and 81.5% of survey respondents named workforce shortages as their top downside risk.

Manufacturers also indicated the many ways that proposed federal tax increases threaten jobs, investment, and sector growth, with almost 94% saying higher taxes will be harmful to their businesses.

Ninety percent of survey respondents said it will be more difficult to add jobs, invest in new equipment, or expand facilities if the tax burden on income from manufacturing activities increased.

Urgent Warning

"This survey delivers an urgent warning for lawmakers: if you raise taxes on manufacturers, there will be no avoiding widespread job losses, slower growth, and wage stagnation," NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons said.

"At a time when paychecks for manufacturing families are growing at the highest rate in nearly 40 years, the tax increases under consideration by Congress will directly harm the men and women who make things in America."

"Tax increases will directly harm the men and women who make things in America."

NAM's Jay Timmons

Timmons said NAM and the Manufacturing Institute will ramp up the Creators Wanted campaign, designed to address the growing shortage of skilled workers across the country.

The survey also found that increased raw material costs (86.4%), attracting and retaining a quality workforce (80.0%), and supply chain challenges (79.8%) are the top three challenges manufacturers face.