Conflicting Signals

Now that the elections are over, we get a better idea of what type of economic policy will guide us through the next two years.

Now that the elections are over, we get a better idea of what type of economic policy will guide us through the next two years.

As we near the end of the year, companies across the globe face a lot of economic uncertainty. Inflation remains high, and governments around the world are raising interest rates, which could lead to a recession if monetary policy gets too tight. Other events, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, tumultuous elections in Europe and the U.S., and OPEC cutting oil production are only adding to these problems.


The outlook in the engineering space has been mixed, however. The workstation/PC market seems to be suffering the most, with IDC reporting a 15% decline in sales compared to last year—but that comes after a huge surge in PC demand during the height of the pandemic. Most of the companies you read about in DE, from software vendors to 3D printer manufacturers, have had positive financial reports. Those with cash reserves have continued an acquisition spree that has been going on for more than a year.

Manufacturers are hiking prices in response to inflation, but they are also investing. At the IMTS conference in Chicago this fall, the floor was busy with companies anxious to get in front of suppliers after two years of virtual conferences and few live demos. The vendors we spoke to gathered a lot of good leads at McCormick Place, and many reported writing orders right on the show floor.

Supply chain bottlenecks continue to be a problem in some sectors—we hope to see some more innovation around design and manufacturing flexibility that can help us do better in the future (and expect more coverage of those efforts in our pages and on our website). Here in the Midwest, where many of the swingiest of swing states reside, we always greet the end of the campaign season with a sigh of relief. Once the elections are over, we may have a better idea of what type of economic policy will guide us through the next two years.

There are also some other positive signs, although we will have to wait a while to see the long-term impact of things like the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, both of which should encourage more high-tech production in the U.S. (You can read more about the CHIPS Act in this issue.)

Here at DE, the pace of exciting news coming across the wire has certainly not slowed down this fall. We also wrapped up our second virtual Design & Simulation Summit, which included some great presentations on digital twins in the metaverse, 3D printing and generative design at NASA, sustainability, systems-level simulation, and optimized workstation configuration tips. You can learn more at—and access all of the presentations on demand.

We hope the information from the conference—and the developments we cover here in our digital issue—can help you optimize your own operations while we all try to weather these uncertain times.

Share This Article

Subscribe to our FREE magazine, FREE email newsletters or both!

Join over 90,000 engineering professionals who get fresh engineering news as soon as it is published.

About the Author

Brian Albright's avatar
Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

Follow DE