U.S. manufacturers' optimism for the next three months continued to decline in October despite moderate improvements in export growth, according to Dun & Bradstreet's latest Manufacturing Survey. "Manufacturing executives have reported falling optimism for the second month in a row," says Iris Geisler, economic analyst with Dun & Bradstreet. "They also plan to curb finished goods inventory growth near the point where inventory levels will be shrinking, another indication that they do not expect an unusually strong demand in the near future. Despite improved expectations for export growth, and few signs of U.S. consumers significantly curbing their spending habits, few manufacturers seem to expect a rosy future in the next three months. If their expectations are indicative of the fourth-quarter GDP growth, it could again turn out to be a relatively moderate quarter." Manufacturing executives reported recent conditions to be declining as well. All factors comprising the Industrial Sentiment Index measuring the last three months fell or held stable from the previous month, and all were below year-ago levels, with the exception of the Exports Index, which improved significantly. Executives reported the main factors limiting production to be the shortage of labor, which was reported by 20% of respondents, followed by insufficient demand, which was mentioned by 16% of executives. The Dun & Bradstreet Corp. is a provider of business-to-business credit, marketing, and purchasing information and receivables management services. Dun & Bradstreet, based in Murray Hill, N.J., operates in 37 countries.