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Canadian manufacturers showing more optimism


Two-thirds of Canadian industrial manufacturers say they are optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects over the next 12 months, according to a new PwC barometer report for the first quarter of 2012.

The report found 76 per cent of manufacturers cited optimism, up 19 points from last quarter. In all, 25 per cent who market abroad are also more optimistic about the prospects for the world economy over the next 12 months, four points higher than the prior quarter. In fact, Canadian-based industrial manufacturers that sell abroad reported stabilized international sales in first-quarter 2012, with 22 per cent reporting an increase in sales.

The bad news is that revenue growth projections for survey participants is 4.2 per cent, which has dipped off slightly from the calendar year forecast (4.9 per cent) and lower than the prior quarter’s 12 month forecast (5.3 per cent). As well, fewer (42 per cent) of the survey respondents are planning major new investments of capital during the next 12 months. That figure is substantially lower than what was reported in last quarter (60 per cent) and the third quarter of 2011 (66 per cent).

"What we are seeing is that while there is plenty of optimism on the horizon, there is still the reality of financial instability in global markets. But it is positive that international sales are beginning to stabilize for Canadian industrial manufacturers," Calum Semple, PwC’s national industrial manufacturing leader, said in a statement.

Topping the list of barriers to growth is oil/energy prices which is at 59 per cent in 2012, compared to 53 per cent during the last two quarters of 2011. Among the 34 per cent of respondents planning to hire within the next 12 months, the most sought-after employees will be professionals/technicians (22 per cent), production workers (17 per cent) and skilled labor (17 per cent)