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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 two 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 Fourteen: Data collected July 13 – 23

This dataset was provided by 112 different submissions spread over two 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 a decrease in production from previous weeks, with a 10% overall decrease in the number of companies at full operations. We also saw an increase in respondents operating at 25-50% operations and less than 25% operations. There are no respondents that are shut down completely.

  • Industrial
    • Production for Industrial processors has taken a downturn and is now 74% at full operations. Another 23 percent are at 50-75% operations.
    • The remaining 3% are at less than 25% of operations.
  • Automotive
    • 39% report full operations and 50% are between 50 and 75 percent. 
    • 7% of automotive manufacturers indicate they are operating at about 25-50%, and 4% are operating at less than 25% capacity.
  • Construction
    • Rubber processors primarily serving the construction industry are operating at high levels, with 89% at full operations.

What percent of your customers are shut down?

For customers that are shut down, there continues to be improvements. The last two weeks have shown the highest number of respondents with no customers shut down at 63%. We also received no submissions that had more than 50% of customers shut down.

  • Industrial
    • 90% percent of Industrial manufacturers have at least 90% of their customers open. The other 10% of Industrial Industry providers are at 20%.
    • No respondents have more than 20% of their customers shut down, an improvement from two weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • 89% of companies primarily serving the automotive sector report that 10% or less of their customers are shut down, an increase from two weeks ago.
  • Construction
    • 88% of companies serving construction indicate that zero percent of their customers are currently shut down.
    • The other 12 percent are reporting 10% of their customers are 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 employees back to work. Companies are reporting consistent staffing levels compared to two weeks ago. There were slight decreases 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 decreased 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
    • 90% of companies primarily serving automotive are staffed at about 75-100%:
      • 65% are reporting 90-100% staffed
      • 24% are reporting 75% staffed
    • Only 7 percent are staffed at 50%, and 3% of respondents staffed at less than 50%.
  • Construction
    • 89% of companies primarily serving the construction marketplace are staffed at 90% or higher.
    • 11% report being less than 50% 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?

Some respondents are reporting a similar supply chain as the previous two weeks, with no amount of issues changing more than 2%. There continues to be no companies with severe disruptions, and only 7% have moderate disruptions.

  • Industrial
    • 53 percent of industrial manufacturers have no issues, a 9 percent decrease from two weeks ago.
    • Zero percent of industrial processors have moderate issues in the supply chain.
  • Automotive
    • 48% of companies serving the automotive industry are experiencing no issues with their supply chain.
    • 41% report minimal issues, and 10% report moderate issues. 
  • Construction
    • 44% of respondents have no issues and 56% have minimal issues with their supply chain, which is worse than the last 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, and the number of companies looking to have some permanent or semi-permanent reductions has decreased by a small amount. 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 63 percent, down from two weeks ago (76%).
    • Only 10% are looking to reduce staff and 26% are looking to add staff.
  • Automotive
    • Slightly more companies are looking to maintain staffing levels with 52% reported this week.
    • 24% percent are reporting some type of permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions for the near future, and 24% are looking to add staff.
  • Construction
    • 78 percent of executives report they are either looking to add staff.
    • 22% 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 worsened from two weeks ago, as 95% revenue forecasters decreased by another 5%. However, 50% and less than 50% also decreased. The industry overall seems to be moving toward a settling point at 75% of the 2020 forecast.

  • Industrial
    • Revenue forecasts for the Industrial Industry are primarily positive, as 70% of respondents are at 75% of expected revenue and 27% of respondents are at 95%+.
    • Only 3% of companies are at 50% or less of their 2020 forecast, which is consistent with the previous pulse.
  • Automotive
    • 7% of automotive companies report they forecast revenue at 95%+ of their original 2020 forecast, a large decrease from the previous pulse survey (24%).
    • 74% of companies serving automotive are forecasting revenue through the end of 2020 at about 75%+ of the 2020 forecast.
    • 15% 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:
      • 63% report 95%+ of 2020 forecast
      • 25% report 75% of 2020 forecast
      • 12% report 50% 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 some time in 2021 having a big jump up to 44%. 

  • Industrial
    • Of those primarily serving the industrial market, 13% report that production levels have not been impacted, down from 22% in the last pulse survey.
    • 58 percent of industrial manufacturers do not anticipate a return to normal in 2020, a big jump from 39% two weeks ago.
  • Automotive
    • Expectations for the automotive industry are relatively similar to the overall industry, with 24% predicting a return by the end of August. 
    • 42% indicate they do not believe production levels will return to normal in 2020.
  • Construction
    • 25 percent report that production levels have not been impacted, a big bump from two weeks ago.
    • No 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 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