CHICAGO — Prime Advantage, a buying consortium for midsized manufacturers, announced the findings of its fifth annual Group CFO Survey, revealing financial projections and top concerns of its member companies’ CFOs in 2013. The survey indicates that CFOs remain optimistic about financial prospects and are focused on growth, as indicated by increased hiring as well as capital and R&D investments.

Highlights of the survey include:

• Sixty-four percent of executives feel more optimistic about financial prospects for their own companies, down slightly from 69 percent a year ago.

• Seventy-two percent of respondents rated their optimism about financial prospects as moderate to high, an increase of 10 percent over last year.

• Seventy-three percent of respondents forecast moderate to rapid growth for their key customers for the next 12 months.

• A record number of companies (72 percent) are planning capital expenditures in computer hardware and software.

• Top priorities in 2013 include cutting operational costs, developing new products and services, and seeking new markets for products and services.

• Nearly half of U.S. manufacturers (46 percent) have engaged with local educational providers in order to train workers (up from just 19 percent in 2012).

• More companies are planning to increase their number of employees in 2013 — 49 percent of respondents, up from 41 percent in 2012.

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Publication date: 5/6/2013