Two recent surveys indicate that business prospects and manufacturing activity both are improving in the U.S.

The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation’s (MAPI) quarterly Business Outlook composite index, which is based on prospective U.S. shipments, backlog orders, inventory and profit margins, posted its fifth straight gain with a rise to 69 from 67 over the last quarter. In addition, the Q1 2014 Manufacturing Barometer from consultancy PwC US reported that optimism about U.S. commerce over the next 12 months rose to 71 percent during the first three months of this year, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2005.

According to an executive with PwC US, while manufacturers are still uncertain about the global economy, the sentiment has subsided compared to a year ago. The latest Manufacturing Barometer shows that:

  • 82 percent expect positive revenue growth for their companies over the next 12 months
  • 56 percent plan to add employees to their workforce in the coming year
  • 75 percent are planning to increase outlays for operational spending

Overall, industrial manufacturers ?continue to indicate consistent near-term spending plans, including hiring more workers, supporting new product development, and investing in IT and R&D,? said the PwC US executive.