February 7, 2014
More than a third of manufacturing firms in the small and midsized business sector expect the economy to strengthen through August, while nearly half expect it to remain the same, according to the second annual Sage Manufacturing Survey. Respondents to the survey, released by business management software provider Sage North America, Lawrenceville, Ga., also anticipate an increase in orders, production, and exports.
Small manufacturing firms are becoming more confident in the economy, with 36 percent of respondents expecting the economy to grow stronger and 48 percent expecting it to remain the same. These numbers are up from 2012, when only 27 percent anticipated an improvement and 57 percent expected no change. Sixteen percent of manufacturers surveyed expected the economy to weaken, showing no change from 2012.
Through August, 49 percent expect orders to increase, 42 percent believe production will rise, and 25 percent anticipate more exports.
The December 2013 jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was seen as positive, showed the number of manufacturing jobs continuing to trend upward with the addition of another 9,000 jobs. The economy added 77,000 manufacturing jobs in 2013.
Forty-six percent of respondents are looking to invest to support their top priorities in the next six months. Investing to increase sales topped the list of investment priorities at 53 percent, followed by 36 percent each for investing to develop new markets and increase productivity.