Pits To Peaches, Georgia Manufacturers Optimistic About Economy

A recent study of Georgia manufacturers offers a glimpse into the overall outlook for U.S. industry. The study, Performance and Practices of Georgia's Manufacturing Firms, was sponsored by the Atlanta-based accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne; Georgia State University; The McCart Group and the Georgia Industry Association. Although the study found that 43% of manufacturers in the state say they've lost sales to offshore competitors and 60% said they had to lay off employees, they are optimistic about the economic recovery and are making expansion plans. Indeed, nine out of 10 respondents anticipate revenue growth over the next three years and 23% expect sales to increase more than 20%. A solid but lower percentage (69%) of Georgia manufacturers expect to add employees to support that growth. The study found that top performing manufacturers in the state report profit margins of 19% or more. Of those top performers, more were publicly owned than the overall sample. Additionally, the top performers dedicated more resources to employee training. Low labor cost topped the list of key factors that manufacturers found most attractive about doing business in Georgia. It was followed by business climate, weather and transportation-related advantages.

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