Now that we've reached year's end, the economy is finally showing some signs of life. U.S. factory output grew for the 16th consecutive month in November, with consumers spending more on autos, computers, and other products. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), manufacturing activity registered 56.9 in October and 56.6 in November, an imperceptible drop and an indication of steady growth (measured by readings over 50).
Americans' confidence in the economy rose to a five-year high in November so it's not surprising that "American factories are catching a second wind as consumers start to flex their wallets," said Sal Guatieri, an economist with BMO Capital Markets. Businesses are also investing in industrial machinery and equipment, and hiring has picked up slightly, although not enough to broadly reduce unemployment rates.
Although the Federal Reserve predicts the economy will only grow by 2.4 to 2.5 percent this year, the Board projects the U.S. economy to expand by 3.0 to 3.6 percent in 2011. It's no wonder, then, that Chief Executive magazine's CEO Confidence Index increased 14.7 points (or 14.4 percent) to 102.1 in late November.
A recent Grant Thornton LLP survey of senior management at U.S. manufacturing companies further bears out this optimism: Nearly half of those surveyed believe the economy will improve within the next six months, and the same percentage said they expect to increase employment over that period - great news!
With that in mind, CEOs - as well as CFOs and other C-level executives - might soon be in expansion and new location mode and should keep this issue of Area Development, our 2011 Annual Directory, on hand. Even more importantly, they should use our new online tool, FacilityLocations.com, to guide them to the 5,000+ contacts who can help with the site search.
Our new online directory - FacilityLocations.com - includes:
• Web and e-mail links to economic development and consulting contacts across the U.S. and internationally
• GIS mapping and radius demographic reports
• Available buildings and sites listings
• Social media contact information
• RSS newsfeeds
• Streaming videos and more
A visit to this new site will help to expedite the location search as the economy
continues to improve.