According to a survey recently released by accounting/advisory firm Baker Tilly, nearly six in 10 senior manufacturing execs (57%) have a positive-view outlook for the U.S. economy over the next six months. However, only 47% expressed optimism for the manufacturing sector over the same time frame. The most commonly cited strategies among companies for remaining competitive in an uncertain economy included: reducing operational costs (80%), looking for tax advantages (66%), increasing product and customer diversity (65%) and seeking price breaks from suppliers (65%). Other highlights of the survey of 300 senior executives at U.S. manufacturing companies include:
  • Small manufacturers, accounting for nearly half of those surveyed, were much more likely to indicate their firm could be in danger of failing (14%) versus medium-sized (2%) and large firms (3%). The survey defined small firms as those with fewer than 100 employees.
  • For companies of all sizes, the greatest obstacle to growth and expansion was lack of customer demand, given by 45% of respondents.
  • About 70% of respondents expected to keep staffing levels the same over the next six months.