Industry Market Trends
Survey: Small, Midsize Manufacturers "Conservatively Optimistic"
March 5, 2014
With 2014 in full swing, many are looking to the manufacturing sector for an indication of how the economy will perform this year. Sage North America recently conducted a survey of small and midsize manufacturers to find out their business outlooks and trends they expect, as well as investment priorities. The economic uncertainty of the past few years clearly had a stifling affect on some businesses, but one of the bright spots in the economy was the modest growth seen in the manufacturing sector. Overall, things are looking up for the manufacturing industry in the coming year, with an anticipated increase in orders, production, and exports. According to the second annual Sage Manufacturing Survey, small and midsize businesses are conservatively optimistic about business growth. More than one-third of surveyed manufacturing firms in the small and midsize business (SMB) sector expect the economy to strengthen in the next six months, while half expect it to remain the same. The survey was conducted in December amongst 215 SMB respondents in the United States. These numbers are up from Sage's last manufacturing survey -- only 27 percent anticipated an improvement in the economy last year compared to 36 percent this year. Almost half (48 percent) of respondents expect the economy to remain relatively the same over the next six months. During the same period, 49 percent of surveyed manufacturers expect orders to increase, 42 percent believe that production will rise, and 25 percent anticipate more exports. The reasons for all the anticipated growth? There were three main areas that manufacturers believed would positively impact their business in the next six months:
- Stronger domestic demand (68 percent)
- The global economic recovery (36 percent)
- The reshoring of manufacturing (26 percent).
- 53 percent are looking to invest in increasing sales
- 36 percent are looking to invest in developing new markets
- 36 percent are looking to invest in increasing productivity.
- A domestic economic slowdown (53 percent)
- Additional environmental or financial regulations (35 percent)
- A global economic slowdown (29 percent).