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U.S. Manufacturing Outlook Much Sunnier for 2011, PwC Says

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) U.S. Manufacturing Barometer, optimism has risen significantly towards the U.S. and global economies. Sixty-three percent of industrial products manufacturers surveyed were optimistic on U.S. economic prospects, an increase of 28 percentage points from the third quarter of 2010.

"The major shift from uncertainty to optimism in this quarter's findings gives us good reason to be hopeful. We may now begin to see industrial manufacturers start making business decisions in a less guarded, more confident manner as we move into 2011," said Barry Misthal, U.S. industrial manufacturing leader for PwC. "The industry is looking quite strong and steady compared with the past couple of years, and manufacturers appear poised for a robust start to the new year."

In the fourth quarter of 2010, 61 percent of panelists said the U.S. economy was growing, a 34 point rise from the third quarter.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they planned to hire workers this year, an increase of six points from the third quarter of 2010. Eighty-two percent plan to increase operational spending. Nearly a third are planning new facilities, and expansion plans are also on the rise.

The most significant impediment to this growth remains legislative and regulatory pressures. Manufacturers were also concerned about tax policies as a barrier to growth.

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