Optimism up among marine business leaders

CHICAGO – Optimism among marine industry leaders was significantly higher in the fourth quarter of 2003 compared to the previous quarter, according to results of the Marine Business Leaders Outlook (MBLO) Quarterly Survey released today by the Recreational Marine Research Center.

Based on a scale of zero to 200 with a neutral index rating of 100, the MBLO Business Confidence Index of 150 indicates solid optimism for recovery in the next three months. The outlook for recovery strengthens over the coming year, as the confidence index tops off at 163 then trickles back down to 156 for the 12-month outlook, the MBLO said.

“The growing optimism among marine business leaders is largely based on their belief that the overall economic recovery will continue throughout the year,” said Jim Petru, NMMA market statistics director. “Economic forecasts ranging from continued moderate growth to the conference board’s projections that the U.S. will experience record economic expansion in the coming year support the positive outlook.”

Increased sales are another factor influencing the optimism of marine business leaders. The Unit Sales index was at 151 compared to 126 in 3Q03, and manufacturers anticipate comparatively significant sales increases for 1Q04.

To meet the expected sales demand, a little more than half (55 percent) of manufacturers plan to use overtime and additional workers to increase production hours during the first quarter. Over the next six months, almost half of manufacturers (43 percent) expect to increase their investment in plant, equipment and technologies by an average of 18 percent.

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