The percentage of U.S. manufacturers with a positive view of their own company’s outlook increased in the second quarter, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, but at 61.7 percent, the result was well behind where it was at the same time last year.
The survey found 76.3 percent had an optimistic view in the second quarter of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2014, 91.2 percent had a positive outlook.
The second quarter result ended a five quarter slide in the survey’s measure of confidence. It relied on 322 manufacturers from around the country who were members of NAM.
It found that the percentage of medium and large manufacturers with a positive view increased, while small firms saw a drop in confidence from 60.3 percent in the first quarter to 56.1 percent.
The survey found improvements on a number of measures for the coming 12 months, including an expected 1.6 percent growth rate for sales (compared with 0.4 percent in the first quarter), a 1.5 percent growth (versus 0.5 percent in March) for production, 0.2 percent growth expected for full-time employment (versus down 0.4 percent in March), and an expected 1.5 percent increase in wages.
The respondents also expected to see growth in exports, capital investments and prices. They expected inventories to be down and health insurance costs to be up.
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