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Rubber Industry Pulse Survey


To better understand the overall impact and future state of the rubber industry, ARPM is conducting a bi-weekly Rubber Industry Pulse Survey. This 8-question survey takes less than one minute for leaders to complete but gives insights into how the rubber industry is faring so far - and what executives are anticipating for the future. Participate on Monday morning through your personalized e-mail link to get the results sent to you the following Thursday. (Request e-mail link) As ARPM collects information, we will continue to trend and make predictions based on the inputs given by rubber industry leaders.

For clarity, throughout the rest of this analysis:

  • Week 2 refers to data collected on April 20-29: 145 submissions
  • Week 4 refers to data collected on May 4-13: 165 submissions
  • Week 6 refers to data collected on May 18-28: 198 submissions
  • Week 8 refers to data collected on June 1-11: 225 submissions
  • Week 10 refers to data collected on June 22-25: 87 submissions

Week Ten: Data collected June 22-25

This dataset was provided by 87 different submissions spread over one week. Participating companies serve 18 different primary industry segments. The most common primary industries typically served by respondents include Industrial, Automotive, and Construction. Each of these primary industries will have its data highlighted throughout this report.

At what level is your plant currently operating?

There has been a major change from previous weeks regarding production levels, with a 10% increase in respondents that are in full operations. We also saw decreases in respondents operating at about 50-75% and 25-50% operations. 

  • Industrial
    • Production continues to improve as 75% of respondents serving Industrial are at full operations.
    • Only 4% of respondents are at less than 50% of production, and no respondents serving Industrial are totally shut down, which is consistent with two weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • 84% report operations at 50 percent or above (up from 74% previous weeks). 
    • 11% of automotive manufacturers indicate they are operating at about 25-50%.
    • 5 percent of automotive respondents are completely shut down. 
  • Construction
    • Rubber processors primarily serving the construction industry saw a slight improvement in production from last week, with 75% in full operations and 25% in 50-75% production.
    • There are zero respondents at less than 50% of production.

What percent of your customers are shut down?

For customers being shut down, there have been major improvements. The last week has shown the highest number of respondents with no customers shut down, even higher than the previous two weeks. We also see fewer companies with more than 20% of customers shut down, along with no respondents having 80-100% of customers shut down.

  • Industrial
    • 87% percent of Industrial manufacturers have at least 90% of their customers open, and another 13% have between 20 and 30 percent of customers shut down.
    • No respondents have more than 30% of their customers shut down, an improvement from two weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • 82% of companies primarily serving the automotive sector report that 10% or less of their customers are shut down.
    • 18% indicate that 20-30% of their customers are shut down.
  • Construction
    • 87% of companies serving construction indicate that none of their customers are currently shut down, a 20% increase from two weeks ago.
    • The other 13 percent are reporting at 10%.

At what level are you currently staffed?

As customers continue to reopen and operations are ramping up for many rubber companies, employers can call employees back to work. Continuing the positive trend, companies are reporting the highest staffing levels have been since before the Pulse Survey began at 76% at fully staffed. 

  • Industrial
    • Industrial manufacturers are seeing improved staffing levels, with 83% at full staffed and 17% at 75% staffed. 
    • There are no companies at 50% staffed or less, which is consistent with two weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • 89% of companies primarily serving automotive are staffed at about 75-100%, up from last week’s 69%.
      • 58% are reporting 90-100% staffed
      • 32% are about 75% staffed
    • 11 percent are staffed at less than 50%.
  • Construction
    • 88% of companies primarily serving the construction marketplace are staffed at 90% or higher.
    • 12% report being at 75% staffed and 0% report being about 50% or less staff.

Have you received Payroll Protection Funds?

Unlike the rest of this survey, the graph above shows the first four weeks of data. Week 4 was the last week respondents were asked about PPP funding, as 94% had either received funding or did not apply. However, it is important to note that the majority of companies, 58%, were able to access critical PPP funding during either the first or second round. The full impact of this is yet to be seen. The PPP funds have left many organizations with questions, and companies are reporting that it is not necessarily providing the relief they had hoped, or they need more clarity on the scope of forgiveness for these funds. For FAQ’s regarding PPP funding, click here. 

Are you experiencing supply chain issues that impact your ability to produce?

Respondents are reporting a better supply chain, with the last week showing a significant improvement in companies with no issues and fewer companies with minimal issues. Although the number of companies with moderate issues rose slightly, there continues to be no companies with any major disruptions. 

  • Industrial
    • 63 percent of Industrial manufacturers have no issues, an improvement from 41 percent two weeks ago. 
    • Although there was an 8% increase in companies with moderate issues, the supply chain overall has improved for industrial rubber processors.
  • Automotive
    • 47% of companies serving the automotive industry are experiencing no issues with their supply chain.
    • 47% report minimal issues, and 5% report moderate issues. 
  • Construction
    • 50% of respondents have no issues and 50% have minimal issues with their supply chain, which is an improvement from last week.

In terms of future staff planning (next 6-12 months), we are...

To better understand overall future planning, companies were asked about their near-future staff planning, or how staffing would change over the next 6-12 months. For the first time since the Pulse survey began, we are seeing significant changes in future staff planning, as more companies are looking to add staff instead of maintaining staff. This is a good sign for the industry.

  • Industrial
    • The industrial industry processors are primarily looking to maintain staffing levels.
    • 17% are looking to reduce staff compared and 22% are looking to add staff.
  • Automotive
    • Fewer companies are looking to maintain staffing levels with only 53% reported this week.
    • 21% percent are reporting some type of permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions for the near future, and 26% are looking to add staff.
  • Construction
    • 50 percent of executives report they are either looking to add staff, a huge improvement from 22% two weeks ago.
    • 25% are looking to maintain staff levels over the next 6-12 months.
    • 25% percent reported that there will be at least some permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions.

How are you forecasting revenue through the end of 2020?

While the industry is changing rapidly, executives were asked how they are currently forecasting revenue through the end of 2020. Each week, this data changes slightly as processors get a better lens through which to view the rest of the year. Forecasts improved from two weeks ago, as 95% revenue forecasters increased by 6% and 50% or less decreased.

  • Industrial
    • Revenue forecasts for the Industrial Industry are primarily positive, as 58% of respondents are at 75% of expected revenue and 33% of respondents are at 95%+.
    • Only 8% of companies are at 50% or less of their 2020 forecast.
  • Automotive
    • No automotive companies report they forecast revenue at 95%+ of their original 2020 forecast.
    • 83% of companies serving automotive are forecasting revenue through the end of 2020 at about 75%+ of the 2020 forecast, an increase from two weeks ago.
    • 11% anticipate revenue through the end of 2020 to be at about 50% of the 2020 forecast, up from 17%.
    • 6% of respondents reported less than 50% of their 2020 forecast.
  • Construction
    • At forecasting through the end of 2020:
      • 50% report 95%+ of 2020 forecast
      • 50% report 75% of 2020 forecast

  • At this time, with the information currently available to you and your team, when are you anticipating production levels to return to "normal"?

Added to this Pulse Survey in Week 4, company leaders were asked to look forward and share when they believe they will experience the elusive "return to normal" or pre-COVID-19 production levels. Expectations are spread between all months of 2020 and 2021, with no expectation having more than 30% of respondents. Expectations continue to shift all over the place, with this week having more respondents indicating September of this year or not until 2021. 

  • Industrial
    • Of those primarily serving the industrial market, 14% report that production levels have not been impacted, down from 21% two weeks ago.
    • 40 percent believe they will return to normal sometime before October, 10% expect a return after September and before 2021, and the remaining 38% do not expect production to return to normal until 2021.
  • Automotive
    • Expectations for the automotive industry are much worse compared to other industries, with only no companies having not been affected and only 11% predicting a return by the end of June. 
    • 45% of automotive providers are not expecting a return to normal until August or after but before 2021.
    • 28% indicate they do not believe production levels will return to normal in 2020.
  • Construction
    • 14 percent report that production levels have not been impacted.
    • 57% predicted returning to normal by the end of August.
    • No companies indicated a return to normal in Q4, but 14% expect a return to normal in 2021.

Remember to check this site every other Thursday for the bi-weekly update. If you have suggestions for questions to be added or changed, please e-mail ARPM's Managing Director, Letha Keslar, at