In a national survey of U.S. Manufacturing Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 18 percent plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 22 percent plan to decrease hiring, a recent press release states. In addition, a large majority believe that the best way to create jobs is to cut corporate and personal tax rates and that the U.S. economy will not recover until the second half of 2011 or later.

“These findings are consistent with what we have been hearing from our manufacturing clients,” said Grant Thornton Manufacturing practice leader Walter Gruenes. “It is clear that the strong productions gains experienced through the first half of 2010 have slowed significantly (only 2% growth in Q3) now that inventory re-stocking is complete and government incentive programs have expired (i.e. cash for clunkers, new homebuyer credit etc.). In addition, the indecision stemming from a weak economy and the unknown impact of governmental tax policy and new healthcare, labor and environmental regulation on business and individuals is causing paralysis as it relates to major business decisions such as expansion, expenditures and hiring. Export growth is the one bright spot for manufacturers — growth of 9.5% in 2010 which is expected to reach 10% in 2011.”

Grant Thornton LLP conducted the biannual national survey from Oct. 5 through Oct. 15, 2010, with 516 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers participating, of which 99 were manufacturing companies.