2006 will likely prove to have been a good year for the nation's small manufacturers, according to results of a National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM) survey released Nov. 16.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed expect sales to grow more than 5% this year, "the second most optimistic response in a decade," notes David Huether, NAM's chief economist. Only 11.5% expect 2006 sales to be less than 2005 sales.
Slightly more than 10% of the companies surveyed say that exports will account for at least 25% of their 2006 sales. Forty-one percent say their 2006 capital spending will be up by more than 5%.
On the cost side, 48.7% say their health coverage costs have increased 11% to 20% during the past year. Nearly 87% of companies say the cost of health insurance for employees is their most serious problem. The number two issue: finding qualified employees, with 46.3% saying it's a problem.