Domestic Buying Rising

U.S. buyers wary of international unrest, Thomas Register survey shows

New York  May 15, 2002  International instability is prompting U.S. buying organizations to increase their domestic buying, according to a survey released today.

In the latest Industrial Purchasing Barometer (IPB) Survey, conducted in April by Thomas Register, 56 percent of the buyers responding to an online poll reported that they plan to buy more from domestic suppliers rather than overseas suppliers during the rest of 2002 due to the current unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Another 36 percent of respondents said they planned no increase in domestic buying, while 8 percent were undecided.

"While confidence in the stability of the domestic supply chain is growing, purchasers continue to see world events as a threat to the reliability of international suppliers," said Ruth Hurd, publisher of Thomas Register. "As a result, buyers are increasingly relying on domestic sources."

The release of the results of Thomas Register's survey fell on the same day that the U.S. Federal Reserve reported increased production for the fourth month in a row in the country's manufacturing, mining and utilities sectors, with a big boost coming in the auto sector as carmakers rushed to keep up with continued strong demand.

The Fed reported a 0.4 percent increase in overall output in April, with production capacity being utilized ticking up to .2 percentage points against the previous month, to 75.5 percent. Notably, auto and auto parts production surged 3.1 percent in April.

The Thomas Register and Fed reports come just two weeks after the Institute for Supply Management (ISM, formerly the National Association of Purchasing Management) issued its April Report on Business, which showed economic activity in the manufacturing sector increasing for the third consecutive month and the nation's economy growing for the sixth consecutive month.

The results of Thomas Register's April survey come on the heels of the March poll, in which 57 percent of respondents report they were increasing their just-in-time (JIT) buying, a sign that the economic aftershocks of last September's terrorist attacks have begun to wane.

Thomas Register conducts the survey using a random sample from its pool of 760,000 opt-in online users. Respondents from the manufacturing and engineering industries, wholesale trade, distribution and government buyers participated in the survey.

Thomas Register, which has long tracked the psyche of industrial buyers, initiated its monthly IPB Barometer to measure the changing attitudes and behavior of the industrial purchasing community.