Take a look at the latest economic forecasts for U.S. manufacturing and the consensus seems to be - at least it's not getting any worse.
In our NAM/IndustryWeek Manufacturing Index for the fourth quarter of 2009, 48% of manufacturers said they expect the downturn to last into 2010. Further, 29% said it would last into the second half of the year and 23% expect it to last into 2011. Still, 60% of respondents said they have a positive business outlook.
The 189 manufacturers surveyed said they expect their sales to increase only 1.6% during the coming year. And they forecast that their captial investment expenditures will actually decline by 0.8%. As NAM Chief Economist Dave Huethner points out, capacity utilization rates below 70% and tight credit are putting a damper on spending plans.