Ninety percent of manufacturers and distributors are optimistic about their future — which translates into more jobs, greater innovation and continued growth for the industry and U.S. economy as a whole — according to the spring 2011 McGladrey Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor.

Issued by RSM McGladrey Inc. and McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, the Monitor also found that 45 percent of companies are thriving and growing; twice as many compared to last year, and the highest instance since 2007.

In addition to increased optimism, key findings from the Monitor include:
• Sectors that reported the most growth are industrial equipment, transportation and energy and clean-tech.
• Last year, food and beverage was the leading sector in growth. Surprisingly, this year, it is the only sector reporting a decrease (due to rising commodity prices, the economy and consumer confidence).
• More than half of companies (56 percent) who responded plan to increase their workforce in the next 12 months.
• Manufacturers are aggressively staying competitive and successful through exporting and global expansion, which ultimately creates jobs in the U.S.
• While the overall outlook is bright, issues on the horizon include rising commodity prices, the state of the U.S. economy and federal regulation.

Previously referred to as the annual McGladrey Manufacturing & Wholesale Distribution Survey, beginning this spring, the Monitor will be conducted and results shared quarterly, providing respondents with timely information relevant to their industry and their business.

More findings from the 2011 spring Monitor are available on the McGladrey website. The summer Monitor will launch in early June, and results will be available in August