The U.S. economy declined to 42% in the first quarter, down from 46% in the fourth quarter, but off a significant 34 points from 76% in last year’s first quarter, according to the PwC's Manufacturing Barometer, which was released last week.
The last time this U.S. optimism indicator was this low was in the third quarter of 2012 when it came in at 37%, says PwC, when the country was still in the earlier stages of the global recession.
- A majority believes the U.S. economy was growing in the first quarter, which is likely a major reason why 72% of survey respondents forecast revenue growth in the year ahead.
- Company forecasts point to slower growth ahead. Industrial manufacturers see reduced growth, with survey respondents forecasting average revenue growth of 3.7% over the next 12 months.
- Manufacturers are investing wisely while conserving liquidity.