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Editor’s Note: U.S. Manufacturers Will Spend Their Money at Home

As the importance of just-in-time manufacturing and distribution of goods increases, the availability and condition of the nation’s roads will also continue to increase in importance.

Q4 2015
In mid-October, PwC released its Q3 2015 Manufacturing Barometer, which revealed U.S. industrial manufacturers’ concern about the direction of the global economy. Optimism about the global economy dropped to 23 percent of PwC’s survey respondents from 30 percent the year prior, reflecting the impact of the slowdown in China and the stronger dollar.

Industrial executives did, however, remain optimistic (60 percent) about the U.S. economic outlook. According to Bobby Bono, PwC’s U.S. industrial lead, industrial manufacturers “are keeping their cash at home and directing investment toward their value propositions in an effort to remain competitive and drive future revenues.”

In fact, 37 percent of the industrial manufacturers surveyed by PwC plan major new investments during the next 12 months. If those investments include new facilities, the top concern for manufacturers, according to Area Development’s most recent Corporate Survey (Q1 2015) is highway accessibility. But, as has been widely reported, the state of the nation’s highways is cause for concern. Globally, the U.S. ranks 16th for the quality of its overall infrastructure as well as the quality of its roads, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2014–2015).
Industrial firms need to get their projects up and running as quickly as possible, and the importance of available buildings reflects their expedited project timetables.
As the importance of just-in-time manufacturing and distribution of goods increases, the availability and condition of the nation’s roads will also continue to increase in importance. In this issue, we examine in greater detail highway availability, which was ranked as the most important location factor in our Corporate Survey, as well as the next nine most important site selection criteria. Second most important was occupancy and construction costs, followed by available land and available buildings. Again, industrial firms need to get their projects up and running as quickly as possible, and the importance of available buildings reflects their expedited project timetables.

Our 2016 Corporate Survey will be e-mailed in November. The responses will give us an indication of our readers’ location priorities and plans for new and expanded facilities in the year ahead. If the PwC survey presages Area Development’s Corporate Survey, we can expect fewer respondents to be planning investment in new foreign facilities and more respondents investing at home.
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