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International companies fare better, study says [Wisconsin State Journal]

August 18, 2008

By Marv Balousek, Wisconsin State Journal

Companies with foreign operations are earning more profits and hiring more workers than those operating only in the U.S., according to an annual survey by the RSM McGladrey accounting firm.

International companies reported gross margins 4 percent higher than those with no global strategy and were hiring workers at twice the rate of their domestic-only counterparts. The weak dollar has boosted demand for U.S. goods.

The RSM McGladrey Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution National Survey questioned more than 960 industry executives representing 911 companies. Nearly 50 Wisconsin companies participated. RSM McGladrey has a Madison office at 8040 Excelsior Drive.

About 12 percent of the companies reported considerable international growth while 8 percent reported domestic growth.

One in five companies is unable to find enough skilled workers and the demand for labor likely will increase as baby boomers retire, said Karen Kurek, managing director of RSM McGladrey’s manufacturing and wholesale distribution practice.

The survey also found growing environmental and energy awareness among the respondents. About 46 percent of the businesses said they adopted at least one green initiative and half of these businesses said their green initiative came in response to customer requests.

About 80 percent of the respondents said they’re pessimistic about prospects for U.S. economic growth and the percentage who described their business as declining has tripled in the past two years.

More than 75 percent of the respondents do not take advantage of any government programs and fewer than half were taking full advantage of tax-planning opportunities, according to the survey.

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