How Do They Get Their Location Information?
Corporate decision-makers are increasingly using the Internet to obtain site selection information: 61 percent of the 2008 Corporate Survey respondents said they were. Importantly, a larger percentage (64 percent) also use site magazines like Area Development; that is double the percentage using either general business publications or financial publications for this type of information (Figure 38).
Of the 2008 respondents using the Internet to help make their site and facility planning decisions, 94 percent obtain website addresses from general search engines like Google, etc. But two-thirds also get these addresses from print ads in magazines such as Area Development (Figure 39).
More than half of the survey respondents also find sites like Area Development Online to be most useful in making their location decisions, and about a third utilize property databases that list available land and buildings, e.g., FastFacility.com. Of course, 90 percent of the survey respondents take advantage of economic development websites as well (Figure 40).
This year, 52 percent of the Corporate Survey respondents said they use the services of consultants when site selecting. Most of these individuals (84 percent) ask the consultants to perform location studies, about half prefer that the consultants engage in incentives negotiations on their behalf, and nearly half (44 percent) actually allow the consultants to make the final site decision for them (Figures 41 and 42). On the following pages, we'll recap the results of our Fifth Annual Consultants Survey to see how they stack up against the corporate responses.
What Does the Future Hold?
Cliff Waldman, an economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, recently acknowledged that "the rapidly declining U.S. and global economies have created a deep and worrisome slump in the U.S. manufacturing sector." He and others are counting on "the capacity of central banks and governments to implement effective countercyclical policies."
As stated at the beginning of this report, our 2008 Corporate Survey was conducted during late summer, prior to the tumultuous economic events of the fall. Therefore, the new facility and expansion plans projected herein may now have been altered in response to changing circumstances.
Nonetheless, as we go to press on this issue, there is a major "unknown," i.e., what the incoming Obama administration will do to help solve the nation's economic crisis. If the new administration puts in place stimulus plans to encourage business investment in new technologies, to create new jobs, and to restore consumer confidence, the current dire economic situation could start to turn around as early as the latter half of 2009. In that case, the plans reported by our 2008 Corporate Survey respondents could very well come to fruition, albeit at a delayed pace.