Forecast: Manufacturing Revenue To Grow 9.7% In 2004

By John S. McClenahen Revenues for the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy are likely to grow 9.7% this year, more than three times last year's 2.8% growth, suggests the 67th Semiannual Economic Forecast issued April 27 by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), Tempe, Ariz. The industries expecting the biggest revenue improvement are furniture; glass, stone and aggregate; industrial and commercial equipment and computers; primary metals; and a miscellaneous group that includes jewelry, musical instruments, sporting goods and toys. "Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives are optimistic about their organizations' prospects for the balance of 2004," says Norbert J. Ore, chairperson of ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey committee and group director for strategic sourcing and procurement at Georgia-Pacific Corp. "Manufacturing seemingly has significant momentum at this point, with near-record strength in new orders and production." Capacity utilization among companies responding to a recent ISM survey was 85.6%, up from 80.1% in December of last year. However, manufacturers have new concerns about their business futures, Ore relates. Among them are inflation, higher energy costs, materials shortages and a fluctuating U.S. dollar.

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