Small businesses that make machines and components for other manufacturers are experiencing an upswing that could be a sign of things to come for the broader economy.
The industries fueling the demand vary. In some cases, business is coming from medical device makers, which are expected to see increasing growth as baby boomers age and need more medical care. An uptick in orders is coming from oil and gas producers supplying energy to growing economies in countries such as China and India. And then some are getting a pop in sales from aerospace manufacturers that are busy building fuel-efficient aircraft and engines and need special parts to get the job done.
As different as these manufacturers may be, they have two things in common: Their industries are expected to see continued growth and they're investing in expensive machinery that can cost millions of dollars.
This small manufacturer machinery boom may seem at odds with an economy that is suffering from slow job growth following the worst recession many can remember. But the increase in demand for gear that businesses use to make a variety of machines, parts, tools and devices is a sign that companies are more confident and are willing to spend. They're also getting loans from banks to buy the equipment — evidence that lenders are feeling more secure.Page 1 of 7 | Next Page