The news for the general economy may be mixed, but for manufacturers it's "all systems growth." ThomasNet's annual Industry Market Barometer® survey of North American manufacturers shows an upward trajectory for this sector, year after year, as they continue to lead the economy forward. These companies are growing, hiring, adding new lines of products or services, and investing for more growth to come. More than half (58 percent) grew in 2013, and 63 percent expect to grow by the end of 2014.
Positive indicators are everywhere. Manufacturers are getting more business from their existing markets, and their average account values are rising. Nearly eight out of ten (76 percent) are now selling overseas, and 33 percent of them expect this to rise, too. In anticipation of what's ahead, they're increasing their production capacity, optimizing their manufacturing operations, and upgrading their facilities. Hiring and retraining staff are top priorities to help them scale. More than half (52 percent) of these manufacturers expect to add staff over the next several months, up from the 42 percent who planned to hire last year.