The manufacturing and wholesale distribution segments in the U.S. continue to see positive growth across several industry segments, as roughly half of small to middle-market companies in that space describe themselves as "thriving and growing." According to the RSM McGladrey 2007 Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution National Survey, business conditions remained basically unchanged from the inaugural survey conducted last year. However, respondents in four industry segments --transportation, building materials, plastics and industrial equipment, reported that their outlook on business worsened over the last year, weighing down the overall percentage of companies who said their companies are "thriving and growing" from 58 percent in 2006 to 48 percent in 2007. For the second year in a row, survey responses indicate companies prefer domestic growth strategies over international. More than half (57 percent) of all companies surveyed indicated that they are relying on domestic sales of existing products. Only 36 percent reported they are relying on international sales of existing products. According to the poll, small to midsized companies have a strong need for workers with a variety of skill sets and experience levels. Workforce shortages will continue to strain resources, as 63 percent of survey respondents plan to expand their workforce within the next 18 months. Conducted this spring, the second annual RSM McGladrey survey gleaned the results from 947 surveys representing a cross sample of U.S. companies in varying industry segments and revenue size.
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