Manufacturing executives report experiencing a reduction in credit and tighter loan terms in recent weeks, according to a new poll of 150 US-based manufacturing executives conducted by Forbes, Xometry, and Zogby in early April. The survey reveals that 64% of respondents have seen a change in available credit, 47% have experienced tighter loan terms, and 25% have had their lines of credit cut by their banks. These challenges come on top of existing struggles with supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages in the manufacturing industry.

Despite these difficulties, manufacturing executives remain optimistic about their own operations, with 87% stating that they will move forward with their business strategies for 2023. Additionally, 66% expect higher sales in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, and 66% expect higher profits for the first quarter as well.

The survey also highlights that 82% of executives polled have either moved overseas factories back to the U.S. or are in the process of doing so, indicating a resurgence in American manufacturing. However, price increases may be a concern for consumers, as 76% of manufacturing executives reported having already implemented price hikes in 2023, with 44% raising prices by 11% or more.

In terms of technology investments, automation of workflow operations (59%), artificial intelligence (51%), and robotics (30%) were identified as top priorities by manufacturing executives. Additionally, 70% of executives surveyed believe that AI will play a significant role in their companies over the next year or two.

Despite the overall optimism about their own businesses, manufacturing executives express concerns about a potential recession, with 62% stating that a recession is definite or very likely this year. The majority (54%) believe that the Federal Reserve should lower interest rates, while 38% believe that the Fed should continue to raise rates.

The poll also revealed that a significant portion of manufacturing executives surveyed had banking relationships with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) or Signature Bank, with 35% indicating such relationships. A majority of those polled had either moved deposits (42%) or were in the process of doing so (14%) by early April, likely in response to the recent banking troubles involving SVB and Signature Bank.

The poll aimed to assess how manufacturers are navigating challenges such as rising costs, banking difficulties, supply-chain disruptions, and potential recession. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus eight percentage points.