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PwC: U.S. Manufacturers’ Optimism Highest Since Q1 2012

July 19, 2013, 08:01 AM
Filed Under: Manufacturing
Related: Manufacturing, PwC

Optimism among U.S. industrial manufacturers regarding the domestic economic outlook rose to 63 percent during the second quarter of 2013, up from 55 percent in the first quarter and representing the highest level since the first quarter of 2012, according to the Q2 2013 Manufacturing Barometer, released by PwC US. In addition, 72 percent of respondents believed the U.S. economy grew in the second quarter, up 10 points from the prior quarter. At the same time, sentiment pertaining to the world economy remains guarded with only 31 percent expressing optimism and 59 percent voicing continued uncertainty.

The spread between those optimistic about the domestic economy versus those optimistic about the global economy over the next 12 months was 32 percent, representing the second highest quarterly total since these questions were first asked in the third quarter 2003 survey. At the same time, PwC’s Global Manufacturing Current Assessment and Outlook indices show a reduction in overall pessimism among manufacturing executives compared to the first quarter, which appears to be driven by more bullishness over total sales, driven by the U.S., offsetting in part increasing bearishness over international sales.

Reflecting the healthy level of optimism pertaining to the domestic economy, 82 percent of industrial manufacturers surveyed expect positive revenue growth for their own companies in the next 12 months, with only three percent forecasting negative growth. The projected average revenue growth rate over the next 12 months was 4.6 percent, up from 4.3 percent in the first quarter, but down from 5.6 percent in last year’s second quarter. Despite the reduced rate of forecasted growth, the outlook for the U.S. continues to contrast with the international picture, where optimism regarding commerce in the next 12 months was only 31 percent, compared to 36 percent in the first quarter. In addition, the projected contribution of international sales to total revenue over the next 12 months remained low at 32 percent, consistent with the first quarter survey, but down from 37 percent in the second quarter of last year.

With regard to capital spending, 40 percent of respondents plan major new investments during the next 12 months, off three points from 43 percent in the first quarter, but well below the 55 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2012. The mean investment as a percentage of total sales of four percent was also lower than the prior quarter’s 4.8 percent, indicative of moderate spending among respondents, and reflecting in part a reduction in planned spending increases from the peak post-recessionary period, which benefitted from pent-up demand.

To read the full PwC press release, click here.

To download the full Q2 2013 Manufacturing Barometer, click here.

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