Industrial manufacturers in the U.S. expect continued domestic & international growth in 2012 according to the Q4 2011 Manufacturing Barometer recently released by PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers). The expectations for moderate growth appear to be balanced by healthy cash levels, improving gross margins and continued strategic investment in spending.
The PwC Manufacturing Barometer (www.pwc.com/manufacturig-barometer) is a quarterly survey based on interviews with 60 senior executives of large, multinational US industrial manufacturing companies. In the Q4 survey, industrial manufacturers said there would be increased investment spending in 2012 including major outlays in operational spending & expansion into new markets.
Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed plan major new capital investments in 2012 and this level is the highest in the last five quarters. The average level of new investment spending is expected to be 4.2% of sales. Almost all of the survey respondents plan to increase operational spending with 57% citing dollars for product or service introductions, 50% for information technology and 40% for business acquisitions. These plans seem to indicate an ongoing focus for US industrial manufacturers on building liquidity and investing for growth in spite of the uncertain global economy.
Regarding employment, 37% of company executives stated that they plan to add employees to their workforce over the next 12 months with the most sought after being professionals & technicians closely followed by skilled workers.
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