Marine manufacturer confidence tempers from 2018 highs

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A slowdown in the aluminum and pontoon segments contributed to a flattening of boat sales.

A slowdown in the aluminum and pontoon segments contributed to a flattening of boat sales.

Marine manufacturer confidence remained favorable in the third quarter of 2019, with 51 percent of companies saying business is stable and another 27 percent saying it is expanding, according to a Marine CEO Sentiment Survey conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The survey gathers insights from member boat, engine and accessory manufacturers on a quarterly basis.

In the third quarter of 2018, 97 percent of CEOs reported an expanding or stable environment, but the dynamic shifted this year from the majority seeing expansion to the majority seeing stability, the NMMA reported.

The survey results are in line with sales data, which point to a flattening after seven consecutive years of growth and sales reaching an 11-year high in 2018. Driving this is the slowdown in the aluminum and pontoon segment this year, signaling that balanced inventories will be essential heading into 2020, according to the NMMA.

Manufacturing activity has dampened slightly, with 48 percent of manufacturers reporting concerns over labor availability and protectionist trade policies.

According to the survey results, 30 percent of manufacturers reported weak sales as their top challenge in the third quarter. Those came right behind labor concerns, which eased slightly from the year prior. They also said they wanted the government’s top priorities to be removing protectionist policies and focusing on creating a skilled workforce.

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