KPMG Outlook: Manufacturing Looking Up

Some 41 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives expect employment to increase, up from 28 percent in October, according to the latest KPMG Global Business Outlook survey.

Service industry executives, however, are somewhat less optimistic, with only 28 percent seeing an increase, compared with 25 percent from the October results. Sentiment among manufacturing executives in the KPMG survey also rebounded, with 68 percent expecting improved business activity, compared with 57 percent in October, though slightly below the 73 percent of respondents in June.

Some 66 percent of U.S. service-industry respondents say they expect to see improved business activity over the next 12 months, up significantly from 52 percent in October and ahead of the 65 percent of those surveyed last June.

This optimism was reflected in the overall survey, which found that U.S. executives have renewed optimism in revenue, profits and business activity, after reporting a dip in confidence last October.

“Our survey found businesses leaders have clearly shifted focus from cost cutting to growth in a post-recession environment, though some remain cautious about hiring,” says Mark Goodburn, U.S. Vice Chairman and Head of Advisory for KPMG. However, KPMG is quick to point out that the survey was taken before the events in Japan, and the findings also only partially reflect the impact of recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

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