The good news is, the outlook among U.S. manufacturers was up in the third quarter of 2020. The bad news, of course, is that while 66 percent of those companies responding to a National Association of Manufacturers survey in mid-August saw a positive business outlook, that's still below a historical average of 74.4 percent. But it's well up from 33.9 percent in May, a number that was "the worst reading since the Great Recession."
NAM released the result of its latest Manufacturers' Outlook Survey Sept. 10.
Something else interesting in the survey? The role that efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program have played in helping companies remain stable.
"Relief funds played a significant role in helping businesses weather these challenges. Of the 82.7 percent of respondents who say COVID-19 had or will have a negative impact on their cash flow, 72.1 percent noted they had obtained funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, Main Street Lending Program or other liquidity programs," NAM reported. "More importantly, of those firms taking advantage of such programs, 91.6 percent reported that those funds helped keep their business afloat, retain their workforce or meet other necessary expenses."