Here's some from my piece on the State of Manufacturing report released Wednesday:
Minnesota manufacturers still see plenty of clouds on the economic horizon, but the sun is starting to shine.
That's the gist of the State of Manufacturing study done by Enterprise Minnesota, the state manufacturing association.
"This year we saw more of a true optimism compared to the cautious hopefulness of last year," Enterprise CEO Bob Kill told a group of about 20 regional manufacturers Wednesday in the meeting room of Rochester's Hardcore Computer.
For the study, the association interviewed 500 manufacturing executives during two weeks in January. It also includes discussions for 13 focus groups from across the state, including ones in Winona and Mankato.
Overall, the study found more executives anticipating growth for the coming year than in the 2009 poll. Statewide, 26 percent forecast economic expansion in 2010 compared to 8 percent in 2009.
However, 53 percent expect 2010 to be flat economically. That is an improvement from the 56 percent that expected 2009 to be in a recession.
Executives for firms that make everything from tractors to waste containers to medical devices also were more positive about their companies' profitability in 2010 than they were in 2009.
The study found 21 percent expected profits to grow by more than 10 percent and 15 percent expect an increase of less than 10 percent. The dim outlook for 2009 had only 9 percent of executives projecting a more than 10 percent increase and 8 percent expecting increases less than that.
Still, 45 percent expect profit levels to stay flat compared to the previous year. In 2009, 48 percent predicted that."People feel better, but it is still a bumpy road ahead," Kill said.