Manufacturers are optimistic about the economic outlook over the next 12 months, but their enthusiasm is more muted than that of executives in other business sectors. So suggests the findings of the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Manufacturing Barometer. Based on quarterly survey, the most recent Barometer was culled from 174 interviews with U.S.-based senior executives, including 77 in large, multinational industrial manufacturing companies. Some 78% of industrial manufacturing senior executives who participated in the survey expressed optimism about the economy's prospects over the next 12 months, compared with 85% of all companies. The top three potential barriers to growth over that time frame include competition from foreign markets (60% of manufacturers versus 38% of all companies), followed distantly by lack of demand (39% versus 34%) and decreasing profitability (34% versus 28%).