• US services, manufacturing to see growth in 2017 – survey

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    NEW YORK: US manufacturing and services executives expect to see increased revenue, hiring and capital spending in 2017, reflecting confidence in the economy, according to a survey released Monday.

    Purchasing and supply executives are optimistic about rising demand for their goods and services amid signs of solid consumer confidence, officials from the Institute for Supply Management said of the semi-annual business outlook survey.

    “Overall, it’s the general business outlook that people are seeing and feeling,” said Brad Holcomb, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee.

    “It all comes down to consumer confidence and even more so consumer activity.”

    The survey showed manufacturers this year expect a 5.2 percent increase in capital expenditures, a 1.3 percent rise in employment and a 4.4 percent rise in revenues.

    In the services sector, respondents see an average of a 5.2 percent rise in capital spending in 2017, a 2.2 percent increase in employment and a 4.1 percent boost in revenues.

    The vast majority — more than 70 percent — of companies in both sectors who were boosting capital spending did so because of the “general business outlook,” the survey said.

    Among those boosting capital spending, 17.4 percent of manufacturers and 13.5 percent of services companies cited “prospects for regulatory reform” as the reason.

    Only a tiny fraction of respondents cited expectations of a tax cut as a reason for boosting capital spending, suggesting an underlying confidence among manufacturers in US growth, regardless of what happens with President Donald Trump’s economic agenda, Holcomb said.

    Prospects for the Trump agenda have begun to look shaky in light of various controversies and missteps that could slow or derail his ambitious reform plans.

    Executives are “not just reading the news but reading their order books,” Holcomb said.

    But Anthony Nieves, chair of non-manufacturing business survey committee, said Trump administration pledges to ease regulations on banks has boosted lending, a key enabler of growth.

    “The prospective availability of funds and lending is also helping the confidence level across the board,” Nieves said.

    AFP

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