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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 to complete but gives insights into how the rubber industry is faring so far - and what executives anticipate for the future. Participate through your personalized e-mail link to get the results sent to you when the report is completed every three weeks. (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 12 refers to data collected on June 29 – July 8: 102 submissions
  • Week 14 refers to data collected on July 13 – 23: 112 submissions
  • Week 17 refers to data collected on August 3 - 20: 106 submissions

Week Seventeen: Data collected August 3-20

This dataset was provided by 106 different submissions spread over three weeks. 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 an increase in production from previous weeks, as the percentage of companies at full operations has moved back up to 70%. There is a consistent percentage of companies at less than 25% compared to the last pulse survey. Overall, production should continue to shift toward full operations.

  • Industrial
    • Production for industrial processors have taken a positive turn and are now at 83 percent at full operations, an increase of 9%. Another 13 percent are at 50-75% operations.
    • The remaining 4% are at less than 25% of operations.
  • Automotive
    • 64 percent report full operations, a large jump from 39% in the previous pulse.
    • 28% are between 50 and 75 percent of operations. 
  • Construction
    • Rubber processors primarily serving the construction industry are operating at high levels, with 91% at full operations, and the other 9% performing between 50% and 75% operations.

What percent of your customers are shut down?

For customers that are shut down, the positive trend since the beginning of this pulse survey continues. The last three weeks have shown the highest number of respondents with no customers shut down at 70 percent. We also received no submissions that had more than 50 percent of customers shut down.

  • Industrial
    • 90% percent of Industrial manufacturers have at least 90% of their customers open. 
    • 4% of industrial processors have 90 percent of their customers shut down.
  • Automotive
    • 92% of companies primarily serving the automotive sector report that 10% or less of their customers are shut down, an increase of 3% from two weeks ago.
    • 4% of automotive processors have 30 percent of their customers shut down and another 4% have 50 percent of their customers shut down.
  • Construction
    • 80% of companies serving construction indicate that zero percent of their customers are currently shut down.
    • The other 20 percent is split between reporting 10% and 20% of their customers being shut down.

At what level are you currently staffed?

As customers continue to reopen and operations are ramping up for many rubber companies, employers can call more employees back to work. Companies are reporting consistent staffing levels compared to two weeks ago. There were slight increases in staffing levels across all industries, but no more than 2%, signifying relatively constant staffing levels for the past several weeks.

  • Industrial
    • Industrial manufacturers are seeing increased staffing levels, with 88% at full staffed and 8% at 75% staffed. 
    • The remaining 4 percent are staffed at less than 50%, and there were no respondents that were completely shut down for industrial processors.
  • Automotive
    • 88% of companies primarily serving automotive are staffed at about 75-100%:
      • 72% are reporting 90-100% staffed
      • 16% are about 75% staffed
    • Only 4 percent are staffed at 50%, and 8% of respondents staffed at less than 50%.
  • Construction
    • 91% of companies primarily serving the construction marketplace are staffed at 90% or higher.
    • 9% report being at about 75 percent staffed.

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?

There were more issues the past 3 weeks compared to previous pulse reports with an eight percent drop in respondents with no issues in the supply chain. There were also increases in respondents with minimal and moderate issues overall.

  • Industrial
    • 46 percent of industrial manufacturers have no issues, a 7 percent decrease from two weeks ago, continuing the negative trend.
    • 12 percent of industrial processors are having moderate or major issues in the supply chain.
  • Automotive
    • 44% of companies serving the automotive industry are experiencing no issues with their supply chain.
    • 48% report minimal issues, 4% report moderate issues, and 4% report moderate issues. 
  • Construction
    • 45% of respondents have no issues and 55% have minimal issues with their supply chain, which is consistent with the previous pulse survey.

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. Fewer companies are looking to maintain staffing levels compared to two weeks ago, continuing the trend from the previous pulse survey. There have been increases in both the number of companies looking to have some permanent or semi-permanent reductions and the number of companies looking to add staff. There were no respondents looking to make major reductions in staffing levels.

  • Industrial
    • The industrial industry processors are primarily looking to maintain staffing levels at 50 percent, down from three weeks ago (63%).
    • About 17% are looking to reduce staff and 33 percent are looking to add staff.
  • Automotive
    • Companies looking to maintain staffing levels remain constant at 52%.
    • 16% percent are reporting some type of permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions for the near future, and 32% are looking to add staff.
  • Construction
    • 55 percent of executives report they are looking to add staff.
    • 9 percent reported that there will be at least some permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions, down from 22% three weeks ago.

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 three weeks ago, as 95% revenue forecasters increased by 5 percent. Respondents at 50% and less than 50% of their forecasts remained relatively constant.

  • Industrial
    • Revenue forecasts for the Industrial Industry are primarily positive, as 70% of respondents are at 75% of expected revenue and 25% of respondents are at 95%+.
    • Only 4% of companies are at 50% or less of their 2020 forecast, which is consistent with the previous pulse.
  • Automotive
    • 8% of automotive companies report they forecast revenue at 95%+ of their original 2020 forecast, a large decrease from the previous pulse survey (24%).
    • 67% of companies serving automotive are forecasting revenue through the end of 2020 at about 75%+ of the 2020 forecast, down from 74% three weeks ago.
    • 21% anticipate revenue through the end of 2020 to be at about 50% of the 2020 forecast, and 4% of respondents reported less than 50% of their 2020 forecast.
  • Construction
    • At forecasting through the end of 2020:
      • 73% report 95%+ of 2020 forecast
      • 27% 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 sometime in 2021 having a further big jump up to 51%, continuing the trend. It’s also noteworthy that the percentage of respondents whose production has not been impacted increased by 7 percent.

  • Industrial
    • Of those primarily serving the industrial market, 23% report that production levels have not been impacted, up from 13% in the last pulse survey.
    • 71 percent of industrial manufacturers do not anticipate a return to normal in 2020, another big jump from 58% three weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • 52% indicate they do not believe production levels will return to normal in 2020, up by 10% from three weeks ago.
    • Only 4% of automotive processors have not been impacted.
  • Construction
    • 45 percent report that production levels have not been impacted, a big bump from three weeks ago (25%).
    • Only 18% of companies indicated a return to normal in 2021, which is much more optimistic than the rest of the industry.

Remember to check this site every three weeks for an update. If you have suggestions for questions to be added or changed, please e-mail ARPM's Managing Director, Letha Keslar, at