But one business's misfortune can be another's opportunity, and those that take advantage of opportunities reap the rewards.
One of the best opportunities manufacturers have right now is to take advantage of the great bargains on used equipment.
"It's a great time to buy," says Paul Betori, owner of HGR Industrial Supply Inc.
Some businesses are replacing old equipment, while others are looking ahead.
"I see some business buying things for future expansion ... they are willing to invest in the future," Betori says.
It's good old supply and demand economics -- more machines are on the market, and there are fewer companies that need them.
"Those laws of supply and demand work," and as a result, says Betori, "a lot of traditional tools and machines have gone down in price."
With the integration of electronics, manufacturing equipment is changing in leaps and bounds, with newer and better machines replacing older, slower ones every year and rendering the older ones obsolete.
But as Betori says, obsolete is in the eye of the beholder.
"We have a machine here that is slower and doesn't have the same technology as a new one, but it still works," he says.
In the David vs. Goliath world of manufacturing, it seems the little guy is prevailing. The recent spate of closing and consolidations in the manufacturing industry has meant the closure of some large companies but it has also created opportunity for smaller start-ups.
"We've seen some of the people who have been laid off starting their own businesses," says Betori.
Betori's suggestion when looking for bargains is to shop early and often.
"They (manufacturers) should be out there looking and thinking ahead. These prices will change when the industry picks up," he says.
He says prices hit a low last spring. And if his customers and market prices are any indication of what is to come for the industry, Betori is cautiously optimistic.
"I think that manufacturing is going to be up come the end of the year," says Betori. How to reach: HGR Industrial Surplus Inc., (216) 486-4567 or www.hgrindustrialsurplus.com