Business owners specializing in architectural woodwork are optimistic about the second half of 2012, according to a recent survey by the Potomac Falls, Va.-based Architectural Woodwork Institute that examined business conditions, sales prospects, cash flow, and labor quality. Three-quarters of respondents say that business conditions are “favorable,” with high-profit manufacturing firms slightly more optimistic than the rest of the field, which recorded operating margins of 4.5 percent compared with the higher-profit group’s 9.5 percent. Yet 21 percent of high-profit firms invested at least $100,000 in the past 12 months compared with 23 percent of respondents overall who invested at least that amount for the same period. The survey also found that one-quarter of high-profit firms planned to invest $100,000 or more in the next 12 months—down from the 31 percent who did so in 2010. Less than 10 percent of respondents said they would cut workers in the next year.

More than half of manufacturers surveyed have been in business for at least 25 years and report annual revenues greater than $5 million; four in 10 have at least 30 employees; and 32 percent outsource their installation service entirely to contractors. For more information or to purchase a copy of the survey visit