If you want a view of the economy from outside the traditional research world, then check out U.S. manufacturing surveys from the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA) and a buying consortium of mid-sized manufacturers named Prime Advantage.
Their latest data, based on surveys with the leaders of American manufacturing companies, indicates remarkable optimism in the small and mid-size manufacturing space:
Prime Advantage [cites] widespread optimism about the 2010 economy from member company CFOs.
67 per cent of respondents reported feeling more optimistic about the economy compared to 2009, and that 64 per cent were more optimistic about the financial prospects for their own companies. In addition, in ranking their own companies’ financial prospects for 2010 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most optimistic, 51 per cent ranked themselves at 7 or greater.
7 out of 10 points to enormous optimism, given the tough times the U.S. just went through. Furthermore, industry data shows that the U.S. manufacturing rebound was robust in January, despite the fact that tax incentive expirations pulled forward January demand into December of 2009.
“Many customers placed orders in December to take advantage of tax relief measures, pulling orders out of January 2010,” said Peter Borden, AMTDA president. “The good news is that January 2010 orders are still 26 per cent ahead of January 2009. Fortunately, there are measures moving through Congress that will expand these benefits, incentivizing manufacturers to invest in capital equipment in 2010.”
On the jobs front, while U.S. manufacturing employment isn’t expected to return to 2007 levels until 2011 or 2012, 82% of manufacturing companies are already planning to hire new staff in 2010, according to Prime Advantage’s survey. American manufacturing is far from dead, according to the industry itself.