The economic recovery for the U.S. industrial sector is outpacing the national economy, according to results from ThomasNet's second Industry Market Barometer.
Of the 1,176 industrial professionals responding to the Barometer survey, 27 percent report that their businesses grew during the second half of 2009. That's up from the 17 percent that reported growth during the first half-year. The difference represents a 59-percent rate of growth. Comparatively, the U.S. gross domestic product expanded at 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter, and just 2.2 percent in the third.
In addition, supporting an upturn for this sector, fewer respondents report a decline in their business from the first to the second Barometer (54 percent to 41 percent).
What is the secret to success for those respondents reporting growth? They cite two top strategies: selling into new industries (36 percent) and introducing new products or services (33 percent). In fact, when asked what part product development will play in their 2010 plans, two-thirds (62 percent) of the respondents say that if it isn't important, it is critical. Most respondents (71 percent) say their online strategy is also important or critical for 2010.
"These businesses are showing exceptional strength, resilience and innovation," said Eileen Markowitz, president of ThomasNet. "Industry is gearing up for a strong comeback. Those who are succeeding are combining creativity with cutting edge technology strategies."
Most respondents to the ThomasNet Industry Market Barometer represent the backbone of the industrial/manufacturing sector, small businesses. Seventy-one percent work at companies with fewer than 50 employees, and about 70 percent report revenues of under $10m. Other respondents include major global manufacturers.
Consistent with the first Industry Market Barometer, the top challenge to growth across all respondents, regardless of size, remains how to cope with customers who are cutting back or going out of business. Indeed, new product development and seeking entry to new industries are not limited to those businesses that have grown.
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