Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--Under the heading of Heavy Manufacturing, Industrial Info tracks a diverse range of projects including plants that manufacture aircraft, robotic equipment, dishwashers, household appliances, drone systems, gas compressors and a lot of other things. New projects are progressing as U.S. manufacturers are exhibiting the greatest level of market optimism in two years, according to a survey report released this week.

For April through June, Industrial Info is tracking roughly $2 billion worth of heavy-manufacturing projects that are planned to kick off construction in the U.S.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) first Manufacturers' Outlook Survey of 2021, released on Monday, showed manufacturers' optimism increasing to nearly 88% -- the highest reading in two years, and up from 74% in the fourth-quarter 2020 survey. The latest results differ markedly from those released in second-quarter 2020, when only 34% of the respondents registered optimism after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, NAM said.

"As vaccines roll out at a faster pace and we see signs of an improving economy, manufacturers' optimism is rising fast," said NAM President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Timmons in a press release. "Our industry is creating new jobs and investing in new projects, buoyed by signs that we may finally be getting COVID-19 under control. Of course, our industry knows we are not out of the woods yet. That's why we continue to lead by example, wearing face coverings and promoting vaccination. The smart health protocols are more important than ever."

Nearly 88% of the NAM survey respondents said they were either somewhat, or very positive, about the outlook for their companies. They indicated increased costs of raw materials and the inability to attract and retain talent were their two biggest challenges this year.

Capital spending expectations were the strongest in two years, according to NAM, with respondents anticipating an average increase of 2.7% over the next 12 months, up from 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Almost half of the respondents indicated they expected additional capital spending, with 38.9% expecting no change and 11.3% expecting reduced capital expenditures.

Listed below are some of the heavy-manufacturing sector projects that are planned for kickoff in the second quarter.

In Melbourne, Florida, Industrial Info is tracking Aerion Supersonic LLC's (Reno, Nevada) planned aircraft manufacturing plant. Located on a 60-acre site at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport, the facility would manufacture the AS2 business jet. The aircraft would be the first-ever supersonic business jet, according to Aerion, and would run on engineered hydrogen/carbon-capture fuel. Industrial Info assesses the project as having a medium probability (70-80%) of moving forward as planned. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.

In Paulsboro, New Jersey, EEW Group (Erndtebrück, Germany) plans to kick off construction of a monopile manufacturing facility in June. The monopiles would be used to support offshore windfarms. The brownfield facility would be built on part of a former 160-acre tank farm. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report. For related information, see February 8, 2021, article - Biden Executive Order Could Accelerate Offshore Windfarm Development.

In Clarkesville, Tennessee, Microvast Incorporated (Houston, Texas) is planning a battery cell, module and pack manufacturing plant renovation/expansion. The project would make use of an existing 600,000-square-foot facility. Microvast announced in February it reached a merger agreement with Tuscan Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:THCB) (New York City, New York) that will result in Microvast becoming a publicly listed company. See Industrial Info's project report.

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