In what wound up being one of the most challenging years in anyone’s memory, the American economy faced a gauntlet of obstacles in 2020. A global pandemic, record unemployment numbers and a contentious election cycle led to a disastrous first half of the year by many metrics. However, as it always has, the American economy and manufacturing sector improvised and adapted. Remote working, meeting, and selling surged as the US had to respond to the pandemic, which also placed an even higher focus on employee safety. Efforts to reshore American manufacturing were already well underway heading into 2020, however the pandemic and seemingly instant surge in consumer demand for goods like PPE, medical goods and cleaning equipment led to rethinking many industry supply chains. Countries where labor is cheap often lack the infrastructure to quickly respond to large demand swings. The cost of commercial transportation continues to and will most likely always continue to rise. Reshoring became even more of an economical issue, as well as a necessity for increased response to demand.

From a recent article:
“Despite 60% of manufacturers feeling the impact of COVID on operations, a recent survey of senior leaders of manufacturing and distribution companies noted significant or modest growth in company revenue during the pandemic. Demand for products is surging, requiring new and innovative production methods, and many manufacturers have stepped up to the plate. As we close out the year, we will better understand just how much manufacturing changed in 2020. But economic uncertainty aside, the unprecedented supply chain disruptions of the year are a blessing in disguise for manufacturers, as they encouraged the often-stagnant industry to move faster and become more resilient than ever before. If there were a year to push the industry forward towards progress, this was it.” 1

American manufacturing looks to be heading into 2021 largely recovered from the hit it took in early 2020, and ready to soar. It is easy, and somewhat lazy to point to the DOW as any sort of indicator for the economy, specifically in manufacturing. However, the American Manufacturing Index (US ISM Manufacturing PMI) is a reliable indicator of the state of the manufacturing sector, and signs are looking great heading into 2021. The index is up roughly 45 percent from its low in May 2020, and almost back to its highs we experienced through 2017-2018. With the COVID vaccine already being distributed, albeit in limited numbers, America is on the cusp of turning the corner on the pandemic and getting back to some state of normalcy during 2021.

It is no secret that the domestic network of small design, engineering, and fabrication businesses are the backbone of large American manufacturers. At Sigma design, we pride ourselves on being part of that network serving large American companies across many industries. Whether it be Medical and Life Sciences, or Clean Energy and Wastewater Treatment, Production Machinery and Fixturing, or a startup getting its product design refined and to market, we have the capability to serve any customer at any level. Sigma Design also looks poised to be heading into 2021 with great momentum and an ever-growing portfolio of projects for our customers. We have invested heavily in our capabilities in recent years to be a one stop shop for our customers. From advanced design analysis and engineering, welding and fabricating, machining and assembling, to panel building and programming, Sigma Design can take a project from idea to reality. We have a library of satisfied, repeat customers to prove it.

1. Amar Hanspal, “Five Predictions For The Manufacturing Industry In 2021” Forbes, December 7th, 2020, accessed January 15th, 2021,