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Sageworks: Private Manufacturers’ Sales Slowing

November 18, 2013, 06:42 AM
Filed Under: Economic Commentary
Related: Sageworks

Recent industry data from Sageworks, a financial information company, show that manufacturing sales growth is slowing.
Manufacturers are growing sales at an annual rate of 2.3 percent, based on an analysis of private-company financial statements through September. That’s notably slower than the 10.5 percent increase in 2012 and the 15 percent improvement in 2011, based on Sageworks’ data. The smallest manufacturers (those with annual sales below $5 million) have actually seen a roughly 3 percent decline in annual sales rates so far this year.
The sector is underpeforming other types of priately held companies, too. Private companies across all industries have been growing sales at an annual rate of 3.8 percent, compared with nearly double-digit sales growth in 2012 and 2011, according to the Private Company Report from Sageworks. The smallest companies’ average sales growth is about 1 percent.
“We’re a little bit concerned, because privately held companies overall during this expansionary cycle have grown sales by about 10 percent a year for the past 3½ years or so, but over the past six to nine months, those growth rates have been going down.” said Sageworks Chairman Brian Hamilton. “No one knows for sure why companies in aggregate slow down, why their sales growth rates start going down. This gets into the cyclical nature of the economy and so on. But remember, we have been in this expansionary cycle for about four years, and on average in the U.S., typically, our economy tends to slow down at that time, so we’re a little concerned.” 

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