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Equipment manufacturers optimistic about 2021

gorodenkoff/iStock/Getty Images Factory worker is programming a CNC milling machine with a tablet computer.
Association of Equipment Manufacturers survey finds keeping employees safe and finding skilled workers among top concerns.

Equipment manufacturers have a positive outlook for 2021, according to a new survey released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

The survey found 88% of equipment manufacturers have a positive outlook for 2021 and 55% expect sales to increase or remain stable.

“The equipment manufacturing industry has continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has successfully adjusted to challenges to make the equipment that builds, feeds, and powers our country,” said AEM President Dennis Slater.

The online survey was conducted Feb. 4-18. It was targeted to employees of AEM member companies and includes results from more than 130 respondents, including CEOs, vice presidents, and sales and operations leaders.

Respondents said the biggest challenges facing company executives and the equipment manufacturing industry as a whole in 2021 are the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and keeping employees safe and on the job. Finding skilled workers is another top concern.

More highlights

Here's a look at other survey findings:



  • Only one in ten respondents has a negative outlook for the new year.
  • 19% of respondents said that sales are up while 36% indicated that sales are stable, citing a strong pipeline of orders, an increase in customer demand, a robust economic rebound, the essential status of customers, which includes both construction workers and farmers, and the level playing field due to travel restrictions.
  • 45% of respondents said that sales are down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing supply chain disruptions, reduced demand for new products, limited international sales due to travel restrictions, inability to meet with dealers and customers and delayed or cancelled projects at the state and local levels.
  • More than two thirds (68%) said that trade shows will be different (including virtual options) following the COVID-19 pandemic, while a quarter said trade shows will remain the same.

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“Equipment manufacturers have begun to turn the corner," Slater said. "We now need Congress and the president to pass long-overdue legislation that will invest in and modernize our nation’s infrastructure.”

Source: AEM, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 
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