CHICAGO -- A Grant Thornton LLP survey of manufacturing CFOs and senior comptrollers found that only 25 percent say their company will increase hiring in the next six months, and more than half plan to reduce bonuses. However, 54 percent believe the U.S. economy will improve during the same time period.
Thirty-four percent are cutting back on health care benefits, and 28 percent are reducing 401(k) matches. Seventy-four percent say they are most concerned about the cost of employee benefits, including health care and pension costs. The second greatest concern was the cost of raw materials.
“Most of our clients are telling us that they have hit bottom and are now seeing an uptick in their orders,” said Walter Gruenes, Grant Thornton LLP National Managing Partner of Consumer and Industrial Products. “In the short term, those manufacturers serving the food/beverage, aerospace and chemical sectors are most optimistic, while those serving the automotive, industrial equipment and housing/construction sectors are least optimistic. Over the next five years the machinery, chemicals, aerospace, food/beverage and metals sectors are expected to experience the largest employment gains.”
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