Area Development
In the first quarter of 2011, PwC interviewed 63 U.S.-based industrial manufacturing executives about the current business performance of their companies, the state of the economy, and their expectations for one-year business growth. Their responses were then compared with results from prior quarters to see how the outlook had changed. Although the interviewees expressed uncertainty about the global economy, forecasts for their own revenue growth improved slightly.

Although surging oil/energy prices top the list of potential barriers to growth, 57 percent of industrial products manufacturers are optimistic about the U.S. economy, down only 6 points from the prior quarter; 38 percent are uncertain, up 8 points; and only 5 percent remain pessimistic. However, when it comes to the world economy, just 44 percent expressed optimism, down 16 points from last quarter; 51 percent are "uncertain" (a 13-point increase from the prior quarter; and only 5 percent remain pessimistic.

Other projections include improved revenue forecasts, a dip in international sales, costs and price spikes, an increase in major capital investments, and additional hiring plans.