At the same time, import orders jumped to an index of 52 in November as factory heads ordered raw materials and other supplies ahead of a new round of U.S. trade tariffs that take affect later this month for Chinese made goods.
Goss noted that many factory heads acknowledged the pain of the trade tariffs but said they support the tariffs because they hope they will eventually lead to better and fairer trade policies down the road.
"Despite the negative impact of the trade war on jobs, 60% of supply managers in our survey support continuing, or even expanding, trade restrictions and tariffs on imports from China," Goss said. "As one supply manager responded, 'Tariffs should be applied to combat unfair trade practices (dumping) or due to adequate domestic supply.' "
Even so, some 77% of those surveyed said they will pass along the increased cost of the tariffs to consumers.
The Midwest manufacturers also injected a dose of optimism. for the next six months, supply managers were upbeat, creating a business confidence index of 52.9. That was up substantially from October's very weak 47.3, Goss said.
"I expect business confidence to depend heavily on trade talks with China, and the passage of the nation's trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, or USMCA," Goss said. "Quick passage of USMCA is very important for the regional economy and business confidence."
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