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Editors Note: Annual Surveys Show Consistency of the “New Normal”

Uncertainty about U.S. government policies — including healthcare and taxes — may continue to slow economic growth. These issues were cited by our survey respondents when asked what was preventing them from spending more of their earnings on investment in U.S. facilities.

Geraldine Gambale, Editor, Area Development Magazine (Q1 / Winter 2013)
Annual Surveys Show Consistency of the “New Normal”
This issue contains the results of our signature Corporate and Consultants Surveys outlining our readers’ — as well as consultants’ clients’ — facility plans and priorities. Although the results show no dramatic upswings in activity, they do show some marked changes in site selection priorities. Nonetheless, as the economy — and manufacturing, in particular — continues to bounce back, we expect modest economic growth as decision-makers continue to be as cautious as they are consistent in this regard.

In fact, as we went to press on this issue, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) increased to 54.2 in February, a very positive sign considering that the Index has only reached that level about one third of the time over the last 20 years. This latest news indicates that consumer and business demand is growing, resulting in increased factory orders and production.

We also report on the states that are strongest in manufacturing — in terms of employment and output — in this issue. Exhibiting know-how and innovation, U.S. manufacturers in these states are adding to their payrolls and leading the nation out of recession. Needless to say, uncertainty about U.S. government policies — including healthcare and taxes — may continue to slow growth. These issues were cited by our survey respondents when asked what was preventing them from spending more of their earnings on investment in U.S. facilities.

And now we are dealing with the budget sequester. Henry Aaron, senior fellow of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, recently told The New Republic, “Trying to curb long-term budget imbalances now carries the high probability of delaying economic recovery and the possibility of turning recovery into decline.” That may be a worse case scenario, but even slower growth caused by the current budget sequestration in Washington would be an unfortunate turn of events.

If you one of the 38,000 regular readers of Area Development magazine — or one of the 22,000 new subscribers who have joined us this month — please avail yourself of our print and online resources as your firm plans for the year ahead. You will receive four quarterly issues of Area Development magazine, plus our annual Facility Locations Guide (FacilityLocations.com contains 5,000+ contacts who can help to satisfy your site selection needs). As our audience increasingly turns to the Internet for more information, we are enhancing AreaDevelopment.com with additional exclusive content, interviews, news items, and studies/research papers. You will also find listings of available sites and buildings at FastFacility.com — our online free-access property database.

As always, if you have any questions about our print or online resources, you may contact me at gerri@areadeveloment.com.
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