Three in four global manufacturing and distribution executives expect profits to increase in the near term, and the sector is projecting an average growth rate of 10 percent over the next 12 months, according to an annual survey gauging middle market sentiment conducted by McGladrey LLP.

According to “The 2015 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor Report” released in July, globally, executives expect average sales to increase 12 percent over the next 12 months. They also plan to increase domestic hiring by roughly 8 percent.

About nine in 10 executives say their business is either holding steady (56 percent) or thriving (35 percent). That optimism, however, is tempered by a surge in competition as manufacturing firms from around the globe enter the US manufacturing market. The survey indicates that 67 percent of non-U.S. manufacturers intend to sell products or services outside their home markets in 2015. More than half of those expanding beyond their borders say they plan to enter the U.S. market.

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“These findings indicate that economic recovery in the U.S. is gaining significant traction,” said Karen Kurek, a McGladrey partner and thought leader for the industrial products industry. “While that’s great for the U.S. economy, it’s not always great for U.S. businesses that want to remain competitive with global firms looking to enter and expand in the domestic market. U.S. manufacturers and distributors should continue to incorporate innovation into their cultures to contend with global firms.”

According to the survey, non-U.S. executives are 10 percent more likely to develop new services than U.S. executives. Non-U.S. companies also are out-investing US manufacturing companies in technology applications across several categories. Firms outside of the U.S. are roughly 10 percent more likely to have invested in implementation of cloud computing, big data solutions, social media platforms, new production technologies, customer relationship management, e-commerce, and emerging design technologies.

Aside from investing in new technology, another business option for US manufacturing companies is to seek growth opportunities in foreign markets, McGladrey says. More than 40 percent of American industrial firms currently have no international sales goals, compared to 27 percent of non-U.S. companies. And just 11 percent of US manufacturing firms say they plan to start selling products and services outside of the country in 2015.

The “2015 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor Report” was conducted in March and April 2015. The 2015 Monitor survey presents the perspectives and expectations of 1,660 manufacturing and distribution executives based around the world. These executives represent companies based primarily in the United States, but also based in Canada, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, and Europe. For more information about the Monitor Report, visit the McGladrey website.