Business leaders in the manufacturing space are pessimistic, with only a third (33 percent) expecting the U.S. economy to improve in the next six months, according to Grant Thornton’s quarterly survey of U.S. business leaders. The hiring outlook for manufacturing companies is also gloomy – only 37 percent of manufacturing business leaders report that their companies will increase hiring in the next six months.

Even though manufacturing business leaders’ are not optimistic about the U.S. economy, their view of their own businesses is still good, with 77 percent feeling optimistic about their companies’ growth over the next six months. 

“This is very consistent withthe discussions I have had with our clients across the country, said Walter Gruenes, national managing partner of consumer and industrial products at Grant Thornton LLP. ” Manufactures are very optimistic about the factors that they can control, such as their own productivity, quality of their products, ability to control internal costs. However, they are pessimistic on matters that they feel are beyond their control. There is a great sense of uncertainty regarding national policy regarding taxes, union and labor matters, export and monetary controls to name just a few. As a result, they are very hesitant to increase their staff until some of the uncertainty is resolved in their own minds.”

With regard to the recession, more than three-quarters (77%) do not think it will end until 2011 at the earliest. Only one in five manufacturing business leaders (19%) say that the recession is already over.

 

 

All

Manufacturing

Believe U.S. economy will improve

34%

33%

Believe U.S. economy will worsen

16%

23%

Very or somewhat optimistic about own business

76%

77%

Very or somewhat pessimistic about own business

24%

23%

Plan to increase staff

38%

37%

Plan to decrease staff

15%

19%

 When do you think the economy will come out of recession?

 

 

All

Manufacturing

Second half of 2010

6%

4%

First half of 2011

28%

23%

Second half of 2011

34%

33%

Later

16%

21%

The recession is over

16%

19%

About the Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index
The Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index, a quarterly survey of U.S. business leaders, comprises three measures:

  • U.S. economy: Business leaders’ perceptions of whether the U.S. economy will improve, remain the same or deteriorate in the next six months.
  • Business growth: Business leaders’ perceptions about the growth of their own businesses over the next six months.
  • Hiring expectations: Whether business leaders expect the number of people their companies employ to increase, remain the same or decrease in the next six months.

The survey was conducted between August 2-13, 2010, with more than 350 senior executives of which 52 were from the manufacturing industry. To see all the survey findings, visit www.GrantThornton.com/BOI.