AMBA survey shows cautious optimism as manufacturers return to work

June 17, 2020
Automotive segment, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports some recovery while uncertainty remains in medical sector.

Trending data from the most recent American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Industry Pulse Survey, collected June 3 through June 5, indicates that while the COVID-19 pandemic most significantly impacted mold builders serving the automotive market at first, optimism is growing cautiously as these manufacturers begin returning to work.

For the first time since the survey began April 24, more than half of companies in the automotive segment said their plants were running at full operations and about 90 percent of respondents anticipate 2020 revenue to be 75 percent or higher than originally anticipated numbers (a significant uptick from earlier collection periods).

Mold builders serving the medical market are facing increased uncertainty; the percentage of these respondents running at full operation dropped from 91 percent to 75 percent, and the percentage planning to add staff dropped below 50 percent for the first time since the start of the survey.

Overall, optimism seems to be growing as mold manufacturers report on the percentage of customers shut down. When asked if “none” of their customers were shut down last week, the overall percentage jumped from 23 percent to 44 percent. However, most manufacturers are still facing significant uncertainty in the marketplace as percentages of respondents planning to hire staff continues to vary widely.

When asked when their operations might return to normal, 25 percent said their operations have not been affected, while 23 percent said they do not believe conditions will return to normal in 2020.

The AMBA Industry Pulse Survey is part of the association's response to the COVID-19 outbreak across the U.S. and the globe. In mid-April, AMBA launched the survey to provide business leaders and industry professionals insight into the state of the mold-building industry during the pandemic.

To date, Indianapolis-based AMBA has collected data during four separate periods in an eight-week time frame starting April 24, all of which represent more than 430 individual responses. These companies primarily serve 15 industry markets, most commonly automotive, medical, aerospace and consumer goods.