Seventy-four percent of respondents to the ACT Economic Confidence Survey expect their level of business activity to be higher over the next 12 months. Overall survey results point to one thing: better times. D.Ann Shiffler reports

Respondents to our February 2011 ACT Economic Confidence Survey report that, for the most part, business is better than it has been, and it's going to get even better.

Based on input from those who completed our survey, it appears that the crane, rigging and specialized transportation sector considers itself on the road to economic recovery. The question that confirms this asked: Looking ahead, what do you expect your level of business activity to be in 12 months time? A full 74 percent of our respondents said they expect it to be higher and 21 percent said they expect it to be the same. Only 5 percent said they expected their business activity to be lower.

In terms of their current situation, 51 percent of respondents said that their level of business activity this month is higher than it was a year ago. Some 30 percent said it was the same and only 19 percent said it was lower. Continual improvement As well, respondents said that business activity continues to improve. A full 42 percent said that their business activity is higher this quarter than last quarter, and 37 percent said it is the same. However, 21 percent said their business activity is lower this quarter from the last quarter. In our year of conducting this survey, we have never had better results in terms of economic confidence and level of business activity.

To get a better perspective on our most recent survey results, let's turn back to our first survey, taken February 4-11, 2010. In that first survey, only 50 percent of respondents thought that their business activity would be higher 12 months down the line, compared to 74 percent in our most recent survey. In February 2010, 34 percent thought their business activity would be about the same this year, while this year 21 percent expect their business activity to be the same next year. Last year, 16 percent suggested that business would be lower in 12 months as opposed to today, only 5 percent expect their business activity will be lower.

Across the board, folks in the industry are way more optimistic this year than last. In terms of the question about business being better now than a year ago, last year 52 percent said their business was lower than it was the previous year. That's not the case this year, with only 19 percent reporting that business is lower this year than it was last year this time. That's a huge swing in the right direction!

While we cannot yet report that we are experiencing boom times, we can safely say that the upturn is in full swing. Last year at this time we had our arrow in the upturn category, but barely. The editors of ACT would like to thank all those who took part in the survey. It was completed by more than 200 professionals in the crane, rigging and specialized transportation industries in North America.

Of our respondents, 78 percent concentrate their work in the US with 14 percent in Canada, 8 percent in Mexico, 5 percent in Central America and 6 percent in South America. Seventeen percent of our respondents said their primary business is worldwide.

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