Ordering A Good Year

Although some U.S. manufacturers continue to announce layoffs for this year and beyond, the latest annual orders index compiled by the Manufacturers Alliance suggests 2006 will be a very good year.

Eighty-seven percent of senior financial executives among its member companies responding to a recent survey expected orders to be higher in 2006 than they were in 2005, reports the Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group. Only 3% said orders would be lower.

The alliance's latest quarterly annual orders index is at 92%, up from 91% three months ago. "This forward-looking index indicates broad optimism that the expansion of manufacturing activity will continue throughout the year," says Donald A. Norman, the alliance economist who overseas the survey from which the orders index is compiled.

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