Uncertainty prevails among manufacturers surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers for its U.S. Manufacturing Barometer. More than half - 52 percent - of industrial products manufacturers said they were uncertain about the U.S. economy in the coming 12 months. Only 35 percent said they were optimistic, a decrease of 10 percentage points from the previous quarter.
"The overarching theme of uncertainty in this quarter's findings definitely indicates that industrial manufacturers are approaching spending and overall business decisions in a cautious and conservative manner, certainly in the short-term," said Barry Misthal, U.S. industrial manufacturing leader for PwC. "It will be interesting to watch how this impacts the market over the long term."
Those surveyed ranked legislative and regulatory pressures as the greatest perceived barriers to economic growth for the coming year, with 77 percent of respondents reporting those criteria as leading obstacles. Concerns about lack of demand, tax policies, and competition from foreign markets were also frequently cited.
The number of manufacturers planning major capital investments in the next year rose 10 percentage points to 43 percent in the third quarter of 2010, but they plan to spend less.