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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

findings indicate a moderate investment rate. Looking at the next 12 months, 35 percent plan major new investments of capital, compared with 37 percent last quarter and 33 percent last year.

In the next 12 months, 65 percent of industrial manufacturers plan to increase operational spending, similar to last quarter's 68 percent. Among increased expenditures, new product or service introductions and research and development lead the way (37 percent each). Geographic expansion rose five points to 27 percent but business acquisitions dropped 10 points this quarter to 23 percent.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, 28 percent of panelists reported higher gross margins while 22 percent reported lower gross margins – a net of plus 6 percent with higher margins but below the prior quarter's plus 15 percent. Twenty percent of U.S.-based industrial manufacturers reported higher costs during the fourth quarter while 22 percent reported lower costs – for a net minus 2 percent. On the pricing side, In Q4, 23 percent of respondents reported raising prices (up 6 points from the prior quarter) and only 15 percent lowered them (down 12 points from prior quarter).

Increased Spending, Rehiring

With signs of recovery on the horizon, this quarter the Manufacturing Barometer probed executives regarding their focus on rehiring and restarting projects that were stopped due to the recession.


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SOURCE PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
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