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Business Surveys Forecast Growth

July 6, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Executives from the manufacturing and construction industries anticipate solid growth in the July-September quarter, according to separate surveys released today by Dun & Bradstreet.

The manufacturers’ survey not only showed optimism about continued strength but also found ``few signs of inflationary pressures.″

The construction industry reported its strongest results in orders and prices in the June survey since the business-information company began such tallies in 1990.

The survey of 200 U.S. construction executives also indicated that employment in the building industry reached its highest level since August 1994.

The executives expect ``continued strength in orders and employment, accompanied by modest increases in prices,″ the report said.

David T. Kresge, chief economist for Dun & Bradstreet, said that ``order books in the construction industry are bulging, and expectations are for continued growth into the fall.″

He said that recent increases in mortgage rates ``have been more than offset by high levels of consumer confidence, employment growth and stock market gains.″

The June survey of 1,000 U.S. manufacturing executives reported rises in production and new orders and expectations of ``solid growth to continue over the next three months.″ It noted, however, that exports continued to fall.

On the inflation front, it said, ``Low input prices, particularly from foreign suppliers, together with productivity gains are expected to hold pressures on manufacturers’ unit costs at all-time low levels.″

Kresge said that as Asian and European economies begin to recover, ``U.S. manufacturers will be in an excellent position to expand their presence in those markets.″

Dun & Bradstreet, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., provides commercial credit, marketing and purchasing information as well as account management services.

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