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Inside CI: Looking Back, Moving Forward

By most accounts, 2012 has been a challenging year. The ongoing worldwide recession has been exacerbated by a worsening euro zone crisis, causing continued uncertainty in the global markets. And though the economy remains our major challenge, it’s unfortunately not the only one. In a recent CI CyberNews survey, readers indicated their company’s biggest challenges this year: poor/unstable economy, 77.8%; raw materials supply, 11.1%; and overseas competition, 11.1%. When asked what steps they’ve taken to overcome the challenge, one respondent said, “We’ve had to lay off more staff.”

In another recent CI CyberNews poll, we asked readers about their expectations for the 2013 business environment. Responses for better and unchanged were tied at 30.8%, while 15.4% of respondents feel the outlook is worse for the coming year. (Other received 23%.)

While we have seen some fledgling signs of improvement here in the U.S., a return to pre-2008 levels still seems a long way off. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, it’s clear that this year’s presidential election heightened the stakes for U.S. companies. A recent survey of CI CyberNews readers showed that 61.5% of respondents believed that the outcome of the election will have a large impact on U.S. manufacturing; 15.4% believed the outcome will have a little impact, while the remaining 23.1% of respondents thought the election result will not impact manufacturing.

Our exclusive annual Services Directory and Business Guide aims to help you navigate these difficult business conditions. The Address Index (pp. 25-29) includes complete supplier contact information and a brief description of services offered, while the accompanying chart-style listings (pp. 30-33) specify each service provider’s area(s) of expertise.*

Best wishes from all of us at Ceramic Industry for a happy and healthy holiday season, as well as a successful 2013!

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