A survey of members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) forecasts that after four consecutive quarters of decline in capital spending, gradual recovery will begin the first half of this year and continue into the second half.

Among the results of the survey:

  • For the first half of 2002, 60% of the respondents predict their total capital spending will increase, 15% expect the growth to be 5% or more, and 45% project spending growth, but say it will be less than 5%. On the other end of the spectrum, 38% expect spending to continue to decrease.
  • For the second half of 2002, 79% of respondents plan on increasing capital spending, 25% project the growth at more than 5%, while 54% expect the increases to be 0% to 5%. Only 20% of respondents expect capital investment to decline in the second half of the year.
  • Respondents expect the strongest recovery to occur in industrial equipment. More than half anticipate growth of up to 5% by the second half of the year, while another 18% expect a 5% to 10% increase in spending.
  • Almost two-thirds of the respondents expect moderate investments in computers and software, with a larger increase in the second half of the year than in the first half.

"This survey is the first concrete evidence we have seen that our members are actually planning to increase capital spending," says Jerry Jasinowski, NAM president, "but overall, we see a modest growth rate of only about 5% for the year."