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Cautious Optimism Begins, Pessimism Declines on U.S. and Global Economies Among U.S. Industrial Manufacturers, According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Q4 2009 Manufacturing Barometer
Date:1/28/2010

er and is down significantly from the 60 percent reported in the first quarter of 2009.

Industrial manufacturers' average revenue growth for calendar year 2009 ended with a double-digit loss (minus 11 percent), with only 20 percent reporting positive growth.  However, in sharp contrast, the majority (57 percent) forecast positive revenue growth for their own companies in 2010 – with 19 percent forecasting double-digit growth, and 38 percent forecasting single-digit growth. Only 13 percent forecast negative growth.

Looking ahead, 47 percent of respondents are optimistic about the 12-month outlook for the U.S. economy, similar to the prior quarter. Only 10 percent remain pessimistic, and 43 percent are uncertain. This level of cautious optimism is in sharp contrast to a year ago, when 70 percent were pessimistic. Similarly, 41 percent of those surveyed who market abroad are optimistic about prospects for the world economy, 50 percent are uncertain and only 9 percent are pessimistic. A year ago, only 4 percent of the international segment was optimistic about the global economy, while 69 percent were pessimistic.

"We are beginning to see cautious optimism about the economy in the industrial manufacturing sector," said Barry Misthal, U.S. industrial manufacturing leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers.  "There is a sense that the worst is over, but recovery will be slow.  These manufacturing executives are still facing a significant challenge to their growth targets from a lack of demand.  The industry needs improved momentum in the overall business climate and a reduction in regulatory and legislative pressures."

Concern about lack of demand remains the chief barrier to growth over the next 12 months for 75 percent of industrial manufacturers interviewed, however this represents a drop of 20 points from the high of 95 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2009. &#
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SOURCE PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
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