December 2007 Semiannual Economic Forecast

FOR RELEASE: December 11, 2007

Contact: Andrea Waas, APR
  Vice President, Business & Public Relations
  Tempe, Arizona
  800/888-6276, ext. 3009
  E-mail: awaas@ism.ws

ECONOMIC GROWTH TO CONTINUE IN 2008
Manufacturing Growth Expected in 2008
Revenue to Increase 6.8%
Capital Expenditures to Increase 0.7%
Capacity Utilization Currently at 82.9%
Non-Manufacturing to Maintain Growth
Revenue to Increase 2%
Capital Spending to Decrease 6.3%
Capacity Utilization Currently at 86.4%

(New York, NY) — Economic growth in the United States will continue in 2008, say the nation's purchasing and supply management executives in their December 2007 Semiannual Economic Forecast.

Expectations for 2008 are at a higher level for the manufacturing sector than the non-manufacturing sector. The non-manufacturing sector is projecting moderate growth. The manufacturing sector has a higher level of optimism about 2008, with revenues expected to grow more than in the non-manufacturing sector.

These projections are part of the forecast issued by the Business Survey Committee of the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM). The forecast was released today by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, and group director, strategic sourcing and procurement, Georgia-Pacific LLC; and by Anthony S. Nieves, C.P.M., CFPM, chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and senior vice president — supply management, Hilton Hotels Corporation.

Manufacturing Summary

Expectations for 2008 are high as 62 percent of survey respondents expect revenues to be greater in 2008 than in 2007. The panel of purchasing and supply executives expects a 6.8 percent net increase in overall revenues for 2008, compared to an increase of 2.4 percent reported for 2007. Manufacturing industries expecting the greatest improvement over 2007 — listed in order — are: Computer & Electronic Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Paper Products; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

"Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives are mostly optimistic about their organizations' prospects for the first half of 2008, and predict additional growth during the second half," said Ore. "While 2007 has been a good year overall, it has presented significant challenges with regard to energy costs and overall inflation in manufacturing input costs. Respondents expect cost pressures to subside somewhat in the second half of 2008 based on their overall price forecast. Manufacturing growth is now in its 10th consecutive month as measured by and reported in the monthly Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®. However, the trend is definitely toward slower growth."

In the manufacturing sector, respondents report operating at 82.9 percent of their normal capacity, up from 82.8 percent reported in April 2007. Purchasing and supply executives predict that capital expenditures will increase by a meager 0.7 percent in 2008, compared to a 18.2 percent increase reported for 2007. Survey respondents also forecast that they will reduce inventories in an effort to decrease their purchased inventory-to-sales ratio in 2008. Manufacturers have an expectation that employment in the sector will grow by 1.6 percent, while labor and benefits costs are expected to increase an average of 2.5 percent. Manufacturing purchasers are predicting strong growth in both exports and imports. They also expect the U.S. dollar to weaken on average against the currencies of major trading partners.

The panel also predicts the prices they pay will increase 3.3 percent during the first four months of 2008, and will increase one percent during the balance of 2008, with an overall increase of 4.3 percent for 2008. Respondents' major concerns are: energy cost and supply; weak dollar; inflation; housing; and commodity prices.

A special question was asked to determine the progress of organizations in achieving efficiencies from the application of technology to supply management. Respondents believe they are only 51 percent complete on average in achieving benefits from technology in their supply chain, indicating there is still significant improvement to be gained from the application of technology in manufacturing.

Survey respondents expect to realize supply chain improvements through new or improved enterprise technology; improved inventory management; improved supplier management practices; supplier consolidation; and application of lean manufacturing concepts to supply chain.

Non-Manufacturing Summary

Fifty-four percent of non-manufacturing supply management executives expect their 2008 revenues to be greater than in 2007. They currently expect a 2 percent net increase in overall revenues for 2008 compared to a 1.3 percent increase reported for 2007. Non-manufacturing industries expecting the greatest improvement over 2007 — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Other Services**; Retail Trade; Wholesale Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Transportation & Warehousing; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Information.

"Non-manufacturing supply managers report operating at 86.4 percent of their normal capacity, above the 84.4 percent reported in April 2007. They are cautiously optimistic about continued growth in the first half of 2008 compared to the second half of 2007, and they have a lower level of optimism about the next 12 months than they had last December for 2007," said Nieves. "They forecast that their capacity to produce products and provide services will rise by 2.3 percent during 2008, and capital expenditures will decrease by 6.3 percent from the 2007 level. Non-manufacturers also predict that their employment will grow by 0.5 percent during 2008. Their major economic concerns are: energy, fuel and transportation costs; inflation; interest rates; exchange rates and devaluation of the dollar; health care, labor and benefits costs; housing and credit markets; and price increases.

Respondents in non-manufacturing industries expect that the prices they pay for materials and services will increase by 4 percent during 2008. They also forecast a 3 percent increase in their overall labor and benefit costs for 2008. Profit margins are reported to have decreased in the second and third quarters of 2007, and respondents expect them to increase slightly between now and April 2008. Survey respondents indicate they have achieved an average of 51.4 percent of potential benefits from application of technology to supply chains and that the increased utilization of enterprise-wide technology and e-business applications is the most frequently cited means of improving supply chains in 2008. Other improvement approaches include: supplier rationalization/consolidation, improvements in supply management processes, contract management strategies, and increased use of centralized purchasing activities.



OPERATING RATE

Manufacturing

Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives report that their companies are currently operating at 82.9 percent of normal capacity. This is a slight increase when compared to April 2007 (82.8 percent) and less than the rate reported in December 2006 (84.5 percent). Recent monthly data from the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® indicates the manufacturing sector is in its 10th month of growth in November 2007. The following nine industries are operating at or above the average capacity of 82.9 percent: Paper Products; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Primary Metals.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing supply executives report that their organizations are currently operating at 86.4 percent of normal capacity. This is higher than the 84.4 percent reported in April 2007, and slightly higher than the 86.3 percent reported in December 2006. Considering production capacity increases reported in the following section of this forecast, this indicates that non-manufacturing industries are continuing to add capacity, but also find it necessary to maintain their utilization of capacity at a relatively high level. The following industries are operating at or above the average capacity level of 86.4 percent: Information; Mining; Utilities; Public Administration; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Educational Services; Finance & Insurance; Retail Trade; and Transportation & Warehousing.

Operating Rate
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Dec
2006
April
2007
Dec
2007
Dec
2006
April
2007
Dec
2007
90%+ 42% 43% 41% 56% 47% 56%
50%-89% 56% 53% 54% 43% 52% 38%
Below 50% 2% 4% 5% 1% 1% 6%
Est. Overall Average 84.5% 82.8% 82.9% 86.3% 84.4% 86.4%


PRODUCTION CAPACITY

Manufacturing

Production capacity in manufacturing increased 8.3 percent in 2007 as 43 percent of purchasing and supply executives reported an average capacity increase of 25.1 percent, 16 percent reported decreases averaging 16 percent, and 41 percent reported no change. This compares to a predicted increase of 4 percent for 2007 made in April 2007. Expectations for 2008 are for an increase of 11.3 percent. The following three industries report at or above the average 8.3 percent increase in 2007: Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Petroleum & Coal Products.

Manufacturing Production Capacity
  For 2007 For 2007 For 2008
  Predicted
April 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 46% + 12.8% 43% + 25.1% 53% + 23.7%
Same 44% NA 41% NA 36% NA
Lower 10% - 18.9% 16% - 16.0% 11% - 11.5%
Net Average   + 4.0%   + 8.3%   + 11.3%

The principal means of achieving increases in production capacity in 2007 were (in order of importance):

  1. Additional plant and/or equipment
  2. Replaced equipment with technically-advanced equipment
  3. More hours worked with existing personnel
  4. Additional personnel (permanent, temporary or contract)
  5. More shifts worked with existing personnel
  6. Fewer plant shutdowns of operations or facilities
Non-Manufacturing

The capacity to produce products or provide services in the non-manufacturing sector increased 1.5 percent during 2007. This is less than the 3 percent increase reported in December 2006 for 2006, and is less than the prediction in April 2007 of a 3.2 percent increase in 2007. For 2008 a larger increase (2.3 percent) is predicted. For 2007, 32 percent of non-manufacturing supply managers indicate increases averaging 9.2 percent, and 9 percent of respondents indicate decreases averaging 17.1 percent. Fifty-nine percent see no change in their capacity. The industries reporting increases of more than the 1.5 percent average increase in capacity in 2007 are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Retail Trade; Management of Companies and Support Services; Transportation and Warehousing; Other Services**; and Wholesale Trade.

Non-Manufacturing Production or Provision Capacity
  For 2007 For 2007 For 2008
  Predicted
April 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 34% + 13.7% 32% + 9.2% 36% + 9.6%
Same 59% NA 59% NA 56% NA
Lower 7% - 23.1% 9% - 17.1% 8% - 13.3%
Net Average   + 3.2%   + 1.5%   + 2.3%

The principal means of achieving increases in production capacity in 2007 were (in order of importance):

  1. Additional personnel (permanent, temporary or contract)
  2. More hours worked with existing personnel
  3. Additional plant and/or equipment
  4. Replaced equipment with technically-advanced equipment
  5. Fewer shutdowns of operations or facilities
  6. More shifts worked with existing personnel


CAPITAL EXPENDITURES — 2007 vs. 2006

Manufacturing

Purchasing and supply managers report 2007 capital expenditures rose 18.2 percent when compared to 2006 levels. The actual expenditures for 2007 dramatically exceed survey respondents' previous expectations as they predicted an increase of 5.8 percent for 2007 in April 2007. The 50 percent of purchasers who reported increased capital expenditures in 2007 indicated an average increase of 43.9 percent, while the 14 percent who said their capital spending was reduced reported an average decrease of 29.9 percent. Thirty-six percent said they spent the same in 2007 as in 2006. Industries showing the largest increases in capital expenditures for 2007 — in order of percentage increase (10 percent or higher) — are: Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Transportation Equipment; Fabricated Metal Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Petroleum & Coal Products.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing supply management executives report their level of capital expenditures in 2007 compared to 2006 rose by 12.3 percent. This is greater than the 5.6 percent increase predicted by respondents in April 2007, and is also larger than the 9.9 percent increase reported for 2006 one year ago. Fifty-one percent of respondents report increases averaging 31 percent. An additional 18 percent report decreases averaging 19.8 percent. Thirty-one percent indicate they spent the same on capital expenditures in 2007 as in 2006. Industries experiencing above average increases in capital expenditures in 2007 are: Other Services**; Retail Trade; Utilities; Management of Companies and Support Services; and Construction.

Capital Expenditures 2007 vs. 2006
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
April 2007
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
April 2007
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 35% 50% + 43.9% 43% 51% + 31%
Same 48% 36% NA 37% 31% NA
Lower 17% 14% - 29.9% 20% 18% - 19.8%
Net Average + 5.8%   + 18.2% + 5.6%   + 12.3%


PREDICTED CAPITAL EXPENDITURES — 2008 vs. 2007

Manufacturing

Purchasing and supply executives expect capital expenditures to rise 0.7 percent in 2008. The 34 percent of respondents who predict increased capital expenditures in 2008 indicate an average increase of 27.7 percent, while the 27 percent who said their capital spending would be reduced predict an average decrease of 32.3 percent; 39 percent said they expect to spend the same in 2008 as in 2007. Industries predicting the largest increases in capital expenditures for 2008 — in order of percentage increase (5 percent or greater) — are: Paper Products; Wood Products; Machinery; Primary Metals; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing purchasing and supply executives are expecting a decrease of 6.3 percent in capital expenditures from what they are reporting for 2007 (12.3 percent). The 43 percent of respondents expecting to spend more predict an average increase of 13.5 percent. An additional 27 percent anticipate a decrease averaging 46.2 percent. Thirty percent expect to spend the same on capital expenditures in 2008 as in 2007. Industries expecting above average increases in capital expenditures in 2008 are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Public Administration; Health Care & Social Assistance; Information; Educational Services; Transportation & Warehousing; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.

Predicted Capital Expenditures 2008 vs. 2007
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 34% + 27.7% 43% + 13.5%
Same 39% NA 30% NA
Lower 27% - 32.3% 27% - 46.2%
Net Average   + 0.7%   - 6.3%


PRICES — Changes Between End of 2006 and End of 2007

Manufacturing

After an initial forecast in April 2007 of a 3.5 percent increase in prices paid, survey respondents now report realized price increases averaging 4.6 percent for the year. The 75 percent who say their prices are higher now than at the end of 2006 report an average increase of 6.8 percent, while the 12 percent who report lower prices averaged a 4.2 percent decrease. The remaining 13 percent indicate no change between the end of 2006 and the end of 2007. Industries experiencing higher-than-average price increases are: Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Wood Products.

Manufacturing Price Changes Between End of 2006 and End of 2007
  Predicted
Dec 2006
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
April 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 55% + 5.2% 77% + 5.4% 75% + 6.8%
Same 19% NA 11% NA 13% NA
Lower 26% - 6.9% 12% - 6.0% 12% - 4.2%
Net Average   + 1.1%   + 3.5%   + 4.6%

Non-Manufacturing

As 2007 draws to a close, non-manufacturing supply managers report prices they pay have increased by 3.4 percent over the entire year. This is more than the 3.2 percent increase they predicted in April 2007, and more than the 2.4 percent increase also reported one year ago for 2006. Seventy percent of purchasers report price increases averaging 6.1 percent. Ten percent of purchasers indicate decreased prices with an average reduction of 9.2 percent, and 20 percent of respondents have not experienced overall price change this year. Industries reporting above average rates of price increases in 2007 are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; Utilities; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; and Public Administration.

Non-Manufacturing Price Changes Between End of 2006 and End of 2007
  Predicted
Dec 2006
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
April 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 75% + 6.1% 72% + 5.9% 70% + 6.1%
Same 16% NA 20% NA 20% NA
Lower 9% - 5.9% 8% - 13.8% 10% - 9.2%
Net Average   + 4.0%   + 3.2%   + 3.4%


PRICES — Predicted Changes Between End of 2007 and April 2008

Manufacturing

Seventy-two percent of purchasing and supply managers expect the prices they pay to increase in early 2008 by an average of 5.1 percent. At the same time, 8 percent anticipate decreases averaging 4.2 percent. Including the 20 percent who expect no change in prices in the first four months of 2008, purchasers expect the net average overall price change to increase 3.3 percent for the first four months of 2008. Seven industries predict above average increases in prices paid for the first part of 2008: Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Primary Metals; Chemical Products; Textile Mills; Wood Products; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing survey respondents predict that their purchases in the first four months of 2008 will cost an average of 3.6 percent more than at the end of 2007. This is more than the increase reported in the preceding section for all of 2007. Considering the prediction of price change for all of 2008 (4 percent), purchasing and supply executives apparently expect most of 2008's price increase to occur in the first part of the year. Seventy-four percent of non-manufacturing respondents predict the prices they pay will increase an average of 5.4 percent in the first part of 2008. Eight percent of respondents expect price decreases averaging 6 percent. The remaining 18 percent predict no change in prices in the first four months of 2008. Industries predicting above average increases in prices they expect to pay in the first part of 2008 are: Educational Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Public Administration; and Management of Companies & Support Services.

Prices — Predicted Changes Between End of 2007 and April 2008
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 72% + 5.1% 74% + 5.4%
Same 20% NA 18% NA
Lower 8% - 4.2% 8% - 6.0%
Net Average   + 3.3%   + 3.6%


PRICES — Predicted Changes Between End of 2007 and End of 2008

Manufacturing

Respondents predict a net average increase in prices paid of 4.3 percent between December 2007 and December 2008, indicating they expect the impact of price increases to be a modest one percent during the period of April 2008 through December 2008. Seventy-nine percent of respondents expect an average price increase of 6.1 percent, while 9 percent expect an average decline of 4.7 percent. The remaining 12 percent expect no change in their average prices paid for the year. Industries expecting to pay above average prices by the end of 2008 are: Petroleum & Coal Products; Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

Non-Manufacturing

For all of 2008, non-manufacturing supply management executives expect their prices to increase an average of 4 percent. Seventy-seven percent of respondents expect increases averaging 6 percent, 10 percent anticipate prices to drop an average of 6.7 percent, and 13 percent foresee no change in prices during the next year. Industries expecting to pay above average price increases by the end of 2008 are: Educational Services; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Information; Public Administration; Utilities; and Real Estate, Rental & Leasing.

Predicted Price Changes Between End of 2007 and End of 2008
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 79% + 6.1% 77% + 6.0%
Same 12% NA 13% NA
Lower 9% - 4.7% 10% - 6.7%
Net Average   + 4.3%   + 4.0%


LABOR AND BENEFIT COSTS — Predicted Rate Change End of 2007 vs. End of 2008

Manufacturing

Purchasing and supply executives expect higher overall labor and benefit costs for 2008. Seventy-four percent of respondents expect increased labor and benefit costs and expect them to grow by an average of 3.4 percent for all of 2008, while the 2 percent forecasting lower costs see them decreasing by an average of 4.5 percent. Including the 24 percent of respondents who believe costs will remain the same, the expected overall net rate of increase is 2.5 percent between the end of 2007 and the end of 2008. Industries expecting to pay an increase of 2.5 percent or higher are: Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Paper Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; and Wood Products.

Non-Manufacturing

Supply executives' expectation for change in labor and benefit costs for non-manufacturing industries in 2008 is an increase of 3 percent. Seventy-two percent of respondents expect such costs to increase by an average of 4.6 percent. Another 5 percent of respondents expect labor and benefit costs to shrink by an average of 6.6 percent, and 23 percent believe costs will remain stable during 2008. Industries expecting average or above increases in labor and benefit costs in 2008 over 2007 are: Management of Companies & Support Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Other Services**; Wholesale Trade; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Accommodation & Food Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Educational Services; and Mining.

Labor and Benefit Costs — Predicted Rate Change End of 2008 vs. End of 2007
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
for 2007
Dec 2006
Predicted
for 2008
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Predicted
for 2007
Dec 2006
Predicted
for 2008
Dec 2007
Magnitude
of Change
Higher 75% 74% + 3.4% 82% 72% + 4.6%
Same 17% 24% NA 13% 23% NA
Lower 8% 2% - 4.5% 5% 5% - 6.6%
Net Average + 2.5%   + 2.5% + 3.9%   + 3.0%


EMPLOYMENT

Change in Overall Employment

Manufacturing

ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee members forecast that manufacturing employment will increase 1.6 percent in 2008. Twenty-six percent expect employment to be 11 percent higher while 18 percent predict employment to be lower by 7 percent. The remaining 56 percent of respondents expect their employment levels to be unchanged in 2008. The seven industries predicting 1 percent growth or greater in employment are: Computer & Electronic Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Textile Mills; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals; Wood Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing*.

Non-Manufacturing

ISM's Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee members report that non-manufacturing employment has decreased 0.3 percent since April 2007. Looking ahead to 2008, they forecast that employment will increase 0.5 percent by the end of 2008. For 2008, 28 percent of respondents expect higher levels of employment, 18 percent anticipate lower levels, and 54 percent expect their employment levels to be unchanged. Industries anticipating above average increases in their employment in 2008 are: Management of Companies & Support Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Retail Trade; Construction; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Public Administration; Finance & Insurance; and Health Care & Social Assistance.

Predicted Change in Overall Employment in 2008
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
For 2008
Dec 2007
Nominal %
Change
Predicted
For 2008
Dec 2007
Nominal %
Change
Higher 26% + 11.0% 28% + 6.4%
Same 56% NA 54% NA
Lower 18% - 7.0% 18% - 6.9%
Net Average   + 1.6%   + 0.5%
Diffusion Index 54%   55%  

Note: A diffusion index above 50 percent would generally indicate an expectation of higher employment; below 50 percent, an expectation of lower employment.



EXPORT BUSINESS — Predicted Change for Next Half Year (First Half of 2008)

Manufacturing

The responses for this semiannual report indicate purchasers are optimistic about new export orders for the first half of 2008. This is consistent with the most recent ISM New Export Orders Index data in the monthly Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®, which has shown a significant rate of growth in new export orders. Of the 79 percent of respondents who export, 53 percent predict an increase (49 percent moderate and 4 percent substantial) over the next half-year. Three percent of respondents (2 percent moderate and 1 percent substantial) predict a decrease in their exports, and 44 percent anticipate no change in exports over the next half-year. Nine industries expect above average growth in exports: Furniture & Related Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Textile Mills; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Paper Products.

Non-Manufacturing

For the first half of 2008, non-manufacturing supply managers who report that their organizations engage in exporting feel more optimistic than they did one year ago concerning their export business. Of the 19 percent of non-manufacturing business survey respondents who report that they export, 63 percent predict an increase (58 percent moderate and 5 percent substantial) over the next half year. Ten percent of the respondents expect a decrease in their exports (5 percent moderate and 5 percent substantial), and 27 percent anticipate no change in exports over the next half year. Of the industries that report they export, the following expect growth in export business in the first half of 2008: Management of Companies & Support Services; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: Finance & Insurance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; and Other Services**.

Predicted Change in Export Business — Next Half Year
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  For 2007 For 2008 For 2007 For 2008
  First Half
of 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
First Half
of 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
First Half
of 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
First Half
of 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
Substantial Increase 9% 4% 4% 5%
Moderate Increase 45% 49% 46% 58%
No Change 43% 44% 50% 27%
Moderate Decrease 3% 2% 0% 5%
Substantial Decrease 0% 1% 0% 5%
Diffusion Index 75.5% 74.4% 75% 76.3%


IMPORT BUSINESS — Predicted Change for Next Half Year (First Half of 2008)

Manufacturing

Purchasers expect continued growth in imports in the first half of 2008. Of the 85 percent of purchasers who reported they import, 43 percent predict an increase in their imports over the next half-year (38 percent moderate and 5 percent substantial), while 11 percent predict a decrease in imports of materials (10 percent moderate and 1 percent substantial). Almost half of survey respondents (46 percent) expect no change in imports. Industries expecting above average growth in imports are: Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturers have lower expectations for use of imports for the first half of 2008 than they did in December 2006 for the first half of 2007. Of the 41 percent of non-manufacturing organizations who reported they import, 41 percent (36 percent moderate and 5 percent substantial) predict an increase in their imports during the first half of 2008. Nine percent of the respondents (7 percent moderate and 2 percent substantial) predict a decrease in imports of materials and services. The remaining 50 percent of purchasers expect no change in imports over the next half year. Industries expecting growth in imports are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Information; Transportation & Warehousing; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Management of Companies & Support Services; Utilities; Retail Trade; and Wholesale Trade.

Predicted Change in Import Business — Next Half Year
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  For 2007 For 2008 For 2007 For 2008
  First Half
of 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
First Half
of 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
First Half
of 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
First Half
of 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
Substantial Increase 12% 5% 9% 5%
Moderate Increase 34% 38% 52% 36%
No Change 44% 46% 39% 50%
Moderate Decrease 9% 10% 0% 7%
Substantial Decrease 1% 1% 0% 2%
Diffusion Index 68% 65.7% 80.5% 65.5%


BUSINESS REVENUES

Business Revenues Comparison — 2007 vs. 2006

Manufacturing

Summarizing revenues for 2007, 53 percent of respondents say revenue was better than 2006, and that nominal (before adjusting for inflation) revenues increased an average of 11.3 percent over 2006. Conversely, 31 percent say their nominal revenues decreased in 2007 by an average of 11.5 percent, and the remaining 16 percent indicate no change. Purchasing and supply executives indicate an overall net nominal increase of 2.4 percent in business revenues for 2007 over 2006. This is lower than the 5.6 percent increase that was forecast in April 2007 for all of 2007, and lower than the 6.4 percent increase predicted in December 2006 for all of 2007. Industries reporting above average increases in revenues in 2007 are: Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Computer & Electronic Products; Paper Products; Primary Metals; Plastics & Rubber Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; Textile Mills; and Apparel, Leather & Allied Products.

Manufacturing Business Revenues — 2007 vs. 2006
  Predicted
Dec 2006
Nominal
% Change
Predicted
April 2007
Nominal
% Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Nominal
% Change
Higher 72% + 10.7% 62% + 12.2% 53% + 11.3%
Same 17% NA 22% NA 16% NA
Lower 11% - 12.7% 16% - 12% 31% - 11.5%
Net Average   + 6.4%   + 5.6%   + 2.4%

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing supply management executives report that business revenues for 2007 are improved over 2006 by 1.3 percent. This is lower than the 2.1 percent increase predicted in April 2007 for 2007, and significantly lower than the 7.7 percent increase reported one year ago for 2006 revenues over 2005 revenues. The 52 percent of respondents reporting better business in 2007 than in 2006 estimate an average nominal (before adjusting for inflation) revenue increase of 8.3 percent. This is in contrast to an average nominal decrease of 15.7 percent reported by the 19 percent who indicate worse business in 2007. The remaining 29 percent have experienced no change in 2007. Industries reporting above average increases in revenues in 2007 are: Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services**; Transportation & Warehousing; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Information; and Accommodation & Food Services.

Non-Manufacturing Business Revenues — 2007 vs. 2006
  Predicted
Dec 2006
Nominal
% Change
Predicted
April 2007
Nominal
% Change
Reported
Dec 2007
Nominal
% Change
Higher 72% + 9.8% 54% + 7.7% 52% + 8.3%
Same 22% NA 32% NA 29% NA
Lower 6% - 10.9% 14% - 15.2% 19% - 15.7%
Net Average   + 6.4%   + 2.1%   + 1.3%


Business Revenues Prediction for 2008

Manufacturing

Purchasers forecast that 2008 will be better than 2007. The 62 percent of respondents forecasting better business in 2008 than in 2007 estimate an average nominal (before adjusting for inflation) increase of 13.5 percent in their organizations' revenues. This is in contrast to an average nominal decrease of 9.3 percent forecast by the 16 percent who predict worse business in 2008. Including the 22 percent who see no change in 2008, the forecast for overall net nominal growth in business revenues for 2008 over 2007 is 6.8 percent. The industries predicting a 3 percent or greater increase in nominal revenues in 2008 are: Computer & Electronic Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; Miscellaneous Manufacturing*; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Paper Products; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing survey respondents forecast that business revenues for 2008 will be improved over 2007 by an average of 2 percent. This is more than the 1.3 percent increase reported for 2007, but lower than the 7.7 percent increase reported one year ago for 2006 revenues over 2005 revenues. The 54 percent of respondents forecasting better business in 2008 than in 2007 estimate an average nominal (before adjusting for inflation) revenue increase of 8.7 percent. This is in contrast to an average nominal decrease of 21.9 percent forecast by the 12 percent who predict worse business in 2008. The remaining 34 percent see no change in 2008. Industries expecting above average increases in revenues in 2008 are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Other Services**; Retail Trade; Wholesale Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Transportation & Warehousing; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Information.

Business Revenues — 2008 vs. 2007
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Nominal
% Change
Predicted
Dec 2007
Nominal
% Change
Higher 62% + 13.5% 54% + 8.7%
Same 22% NA 34% NA
Lower 16% - 9.3% 12% - 21.9%
Net Average   + 6.8%   + 2.0%


PROFIT MARGINS

Manufacturing

Survey respondents report that profit margins have declined on average during the second and third quarters of 2007 as 28 percent experienced an increase in profit margins, 35 percent had lower margins, and 37 percent reported no change. However, expectations are for improvement between now and April of 2008 as 40 percent predict better profit margins, 22 percent predict lower profit margins and 38 percent predict no change.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing supply management executives were asked about changes in profit margins that their organizations recently experienced or were expecting in the near future. Their responses indicate that 20 percent experienced an increase in profit margins during the second and third quarters of 2007, while 34 percent found smaller profit margins and 46 percent had no change in margins during the same period. Looking ahead from now through April 2008, 24 percent of supply managers expect improved profit margins, only 20 percent expect lower profit margins, and the remaining 56 percent of respondents anticipate no change in their profit margins.

Profit Margins
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Apr 2007
through
Sep 2007
Reported
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
through
Apr 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
Apr 2007
through
Sep 2007
Reported
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
through
Apr 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
Better 28% 40% 20% 24%
Same 37% 38% 46% 56%
Worse 35% 22% 34% 20%
Diffusion Index 46.5% 59% 43% 52%


BUSINESS COMPARISON

The First Half of 2008 with Last Half of 2007

Manufacturing

Looking ahead to the first half of 2008, survey respondents are optimistic about the next half year. Comparing their outlook for the first half of 2008 to the last half of 2007, 34 percent predict it will be better, 20 percent predict it will be worse, and 46 percent expect no change. Compared to the diffusion index for the same relative prediction one year ago (58.5 percent), respondents are less optimistic about prospects in the manufacturing sector for the first half-year (57 percent). The industries expecting above average optimism are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Transportation Equipment; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing*.

Non-Manufacturing

The first half of 2008 is predicted to be stronger than the last half of 2007, according to non-manufacturing purchasing and supply managers. The diffusion index indicating current expectations is 56 percent. Thirty-three percent of respondents expect the first half of next year to be better than the last half of this year, 21 percent anticipate it will be worse, and 46 percent predict no change. The industries expecting the most improvement in the first half of 2008 are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; and Accommodation & Food Services.

Business — First Half 2008 vs. Last Half 2007
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Predicted
Dec 2007
Better 34% 33%
Same 46% 46%
Worse 20% 21%
Diffusion Index 57% 56%

Note: A diffusion index above 50 percent would generally indicate an expectation of the first half of the coming year being better than the second half of the current year.


The Second Half of 2008 with the First Half of 2008

Manufacturing

Purchasing and supply executives are more optimistic about the second half of 2008 compared to the first half of the year. The percentage of survey respondents who forecast the second half of 2008 to be better than the first half is 45 percent, while 9 percent expect it to be worse, and 46 percent expect no change. The industries predicting the largest rate of improvement in the second half of 2008 are: Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing*.

Non-Manufacturing

Comparing the second half of 2008 to the first half, non-manufacturing purchasing and supply executives feel more optimistic than they do for the first half of the year compared to the last half of 2007 (diffusion index of 65 percent compared to 56 percent). The percentage of respondents who currently forecast the second half of 2008 to be better than the first half is 36 percent, while 6 percent expect it to be worse. An additional 58 percent of purchasers expect no change. The industries expecting the greatest improvement in the second half of the year are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Wholesale Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; and Management of Companies & Support Services.

Business — Second Half 2008 vs. First Half 2008
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
Dec 2007
Predicted
Dec 2007
Better 45% 36%
Same 46% 58%
Worse 9% 6%
Diffusion Index 68% 65%

Note: A diffusion index above 50 percent would generally indicate an expectation of the second half of the coming year being better than the first half.



SUPPLY CHAIN PRACTICES IN 2008

Manufacturing

In response to a special question regarding supply chain optimization, 72 percent of purchasing and supply executives plan to take new steps in 2008 to improve their supply chain management practices.

The favored approaches are listed below:

  1. New or improved enterprise technology
  2. Improved inventory management
  3. Improved supplier management practices
  4. Supplier consolidation
  5. Application of lean manufacturing concepts to supply chain
Non-Manufacturing

Responding to a special question regarding supply chain improvements in 2008, 63 percent of respondents stated that they plan to take steps during the current year to improve their supply chain management practices.

The five most frequently cited approaches are listed below:

  1. Increased use of enterprise-wide technology and e-business applications
  2. Supplier rationalization / consolidation
  3. Improvements in supply management processes
  4. Contract management strategies
  5. Increased use of centralized purchasing activities


INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO

Manufacturing

Purchasers will be decreasing inventory on hand to support their planned level of sales during 2008. In this forecast, 18 percent expect to increase their purchased inventory-to-sales ratio during 2008. This is in contrast to 19 percent who expect the ratio to decrease and 63 percent who predict no change.

Non-Manufacturing

Of the 69 percent of non-manufacturing purchasers who answered this question, 14 percent anticipate increasing their purchased inventory-to-sales ratio during 2008. An additional 14 percent expect their ratio to drop and 72 percent see no change. The diffusion index of 50 percent suggests the inventory-to-sales ratio will remain unchanged in 2008.

Predicted Change in Purchased Inventory-to-Sales Ratio
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  For 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
For 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
For 2007
Predicted
Dec 2006
For 2008
Predicted
Dec 2007
Greater 16% 18% 15% 14%
Same 57% 63% 72% 72%
Smaller 27% 19% 13% 14%
Diffusion Index 44.5% 49.5% 51% 50%

Note: A diffusion index above 50 percent would indicate an increase in the inventory-to-sales ratio; below 50 percent, a decrease in the ratio.



ECONOMIC CONCERNS

Manufacturing

Purchasers have a number of supply- and cost-related concerns on their list for 2008. The most frequently cited concerns are:

  1. Energy cost and supply
  2. Weak dollar
  3. Inflation
  4. Housing
  5. Commodity prices
Non-Manufacturing

The number one economic concern of non-manufacturing supply management executives at the present time is energy, fuel and transportation costs. The most frequently cited concerns are:

  1. High energy, fuel and transportation costs
  2. Inflation, interest rates, exchange rates and the devaluation of the dollar
  3. Health care, labor and benefits costs
  4. Housing and credit markets
  5. Price increases


OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS

Manufacturing

Survey respondents are optimistic about the next 12 months, but not as bullish when compared to their response in December 2006. The 37 percent who report a better outlook is less than the 53 percent response received in December 2006. The 38 percent who report that the outlook is the same is up from the 30 percent reported in December 2006, and the 25 percent who indicated the outlook to be worse is higher than the 17 percent reported in December 2006.

Non-Manufacturing

Non-manufacturing survey respondents have a lower degree of optimism now than they had when they looked ahead in December 2006. The 34 percent who currently report a better outlook is lower than the 50 percent who had that outlook in December 2006 and lower than the 43 percent who had a better outlook in December 2005. Thirty-nine percent expect no change, and 27 percent feel the outlook will be worse over the next 12 months.

Outlook — Next 12 Months
  Manufacturing Non-Manufacturing
  Predicted
for 2007
Dec 2006
Predicted
for 2008
Dec 2007
Predicted
for 2007
Dec 2006
Predicted
for 2008
Dec 2007
Better 53% 37% 50% 34%
Same 30% 38% 38% 39%
Worse 17% 25% 12% 27%
Diffusion Index 68% 56% 69% 53.5%


U.S. DOLLAR — Predicted Strength vs. Major Trading Currencies — in 2008 — Manufacturing Only

Manufacturing

Purchasing and supply executives are somewhat pessimistic concerning the prospective strength of the U.S. dollar for 2008. The average diffusion index for this forecast is 47.9 percent, significantly weaker than the December 2006 forecast average of 62.1 percent. Of the seven currencies surveyed in the report, the U.S. dollar is expected to strengthen most against the Euro, while weakening significantly against Korean Won and the Taiwan $.

U.S. Dollar Will Be: Euro Can.
$
British
Pound
Japanese
Yen
Mexican
Peso
Korean
Won
Taiwan
$
Stronger than 48% 38% 44% 33% 22% 22% 25%
Same as 13% 16% 14% 35% 55% 39% 35%
Weaker than 39% 46% 42% 32% 23% 39% 40%
Diffusion Index 54.5% 46% 51% 50.5% 49.5% 41.5% 42.5%

Note: A diffusion index above 50 percent would predict a generally stronger U.S. dollar; below 50 percent, a generally weaker U.S. dollar, with the distance from 50 percent indicative of the predicted strength or weakness.


Benefits of Applying Technology

Manufacturing

A special question was asked to determine the progress of organizations in achieving efficiencies from the application of technology to supply management. Respondents believe they are only 51 percent complete on average in achieving benefits from technology in their supply chain, indicating there is still significant improvement to be gained from the application of technology in manufacturers' supply chains.

Non-Manufacturing

Survey respondents were asked a special question concerning the realized proportion of potential supply chain efficiencies that could ultimately be gained from applying technology to their supply chain. The average response from non-manufacturing respondents was 51.4 percent, indicating that, on average, approximately 49 percent of potential improvement is yet to be gained. While 30 percent of respondents have achieved at least 75 percent of their expected potential benefit, the remaining 70 percent still have significant benefits to gain.

Benefits of Applying Technology
% Benefits
Realized to Date
Manufacturing
% of Responses
Non-Manufacturing
% of Responses
90-100 4% 8%
75-89 18% 22%
50-74 43% 31%
Less than 50 35% 39%


SUMMARY

Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is currently expanding, and the forecast indicates that it will continue to expand in 2008.

  • Operating rate is 82.9 percent.
  • Production capacity increased by 8.3 percent in 2007.
  • Production capacity is expected to increase by 11.3 percent in 2008.
  • Capital expenditures increased 18.2 percent in 2007.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to increase 0.7 percent in 2008.
  • Prices paid increased 4.6 percent in 2007.
  • Overall 2008 prices paid are expected to increase 4.3 percent.
  • Labor and benefit costs are expected to increase 2.5 percent in 2008.
  • Manufacturing employment is expected to increase 1.6 percent in 2008.
  • Expect strong growth in U.S. exports in 2008.
  • Expect strong growth in U.S. imports in 2008.
  • Manufacturing revenues (nominal) are up by 2.4 percent in 2007.
  • Manufacturing revenues (nominal) are expected to be up by 6.8 percent in 2008.
  • Major concerns to manufacturers: energy cost and supply; weak dollar; inflation; housing; and commodity prices.
  • The U.S. dollar is expected to weaken on average versus major trading partner currencies in 2008.
  • Overall attitude of manufacturing management: optimistic, with 75 percent of respondents predicting 2008 will be equal to or better than 2007.
Non-Manufacturing

The non-manufacturing sector continues to expand and the forecast indicates an increased rate of expansion in 2008.

  • Operating rate is currently 86.4 percent.
  • Production and provision capacity are expected to increase 2.3 percent in 2008.
  • Capital expenditures increased 12.3 percent in 2007.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to decrease 6.3 percent in 2008.
  • Prices paid increased 3.4 percent during 2007.
  • Prices paid are expected to increase 4 percent during 2008.
  • Labor and benefit costs are expected to increase 3 percent during 2008.
  • Non-manufacturing employment is expected to increase 0.5 percent during 2008.
  • Expect strong export growth in 2008.
  • Expect strong import growth in 2008, although at a slower rate than in 2007.
  • Non-manufacturing revenues (nominal) are up 1.3 percent in 2007.
  • Non-manufacturing revenues (nominal) are expected to rise 2 percent in 2008.
  • Major concerns to non-manufacturers: high energy, fuel and transportation costs; inflation; interest rates, exchange rates and devaluation of the dollar; health care, labor and benefits costs; housing and credit markets; and price increases.
  • Overall attitude of non-manufacturing supply managers: cautiously optimistic, with 73 percent of respondents predicting 2008 will be equal to or better than 2007.

*Miscellaneous Manufacturing includes items such as medical equipment and supplies, jewelry, sporting goods, toys and office supplies.

**Other Services include equipment and machinery repairing; promoting or administering religious activities; grant making; advocacy; and providing dry-cleaning and laundry services, personal care services, death care services, pet care services, photofinishing services, temporary parking services, and dating services.

In addition to the forecast, the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® is issued monthly and is considered by many economists to be the most reliable near-term economic barometer available. It is reviewed regularly by government agencies and economic business leaders. The report, compiled from responses to questions asked of purchasing and supply executives across the country, tracks industrial production, new orders, inventories, supplier deliveries, imports, exports, backlog of orders, employment, customers' inventories, buying policies and prices. The report has been issued by the association since 1931, except during World War II.

Covering the non-manufacturing sector, ISM debuted the Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® in June 1998. The Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® is released on the third business day of each month, and is based on data received from purchasing and supply executives across the country. The report covers business activity, new orders, backlog of orders, new export orders, inventory change, inventory sentiment, imports, prices, employment, and supplier deliveries.

The Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® is published monthly by the Institute for Supply Management™. The Institute for Supply Management™, established in 1915, is the largest supply management organization in the world as well as one of the most respected. ISM's mission is to lead the supply management profession through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities and education.

The full text version of each report is posted on ISM's Home Page at www.ism.ws on the first and third business day of every month after 10:10 a.m. (ET).

The next Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® featuring the December 2007 data will be released at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.

The next Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® featuring the December 2007 data will be released at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Friday, January 4, 2008.



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