How companies are viewing the signs of recovery

Ryan Spera packing customer orders at Edmund Optics Inc. The company said it began seeing signs of recovery in mid-2010.

We asked companies what signs of economic recovery they were seeing in their business or industry. Some are seeing more sales, and less fear. Here's more of what they said:

Edmund Optics Inc., Barrington

 Edmund Optics, and the photonics industry, began seeing signs of recovery in mid-2010, with sales and product demand increasing worldwide. As a result, Edmund Optics ended 2010 breaking sales records. Recently, Edmund Optics attended the largest industry conference and exhibition, Photonics West, which drew a record number of attendees and exhibitors. The show also sold out exhibit space where more than 150 new products were introduced. It is clear that the technology sector is seeing an upswing and improved growth.

Legacy Planning Partners, Plymouth Meeting

 Employers are reconsidering their 401(k) match contributions, and people are willing to implement estate plans. To sum it up, there is less fear.

FMC Corp., Philadelphia

As a diversified chemical company, we were not as directly affected by the recent recession. We have great businesses in agricultural products, food, and pharmaceutical ingredients that are less sensitive to the cycles of the broad economy. We entered 2010 in a strong financial position and actually created about 40 positions at our Philadelphia and Ewing locations. We plan to add about 25 corporate positions based in Philadelphia in 2011 as we gear up for growth.

Peirce College, Philadelphia

Peirce is granting pay increases and adding faculty and staff. Recognizing the effect of the economic downturn on our students, the college increased institutional aid through scholarships by more than 25 percent in the last two years. Peirce has also introduced a series of career-related workshops to enable students and alumni to maintain their skills and reduce vulnerability to changes in the workplace.

Martin Banks, Philadelphia

[The law firm represents claimants for workers' compensation and Social Security disability.] If there are fewer people working, there are fewer people on workers' compensation. Additionally, people are more fearful of making a workers' comp claim because they do not want to take any chance of losing their job.

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., Philadelphia

The real estate investment market has picked up tremendous momentum. With a generous amount of activity in the second half of 2010, there is a positive outlook for 2011. The combination of numerous investors coming off the sidelines and plenty of attractively priced debt capital has created a shortage premium and caused investors to begin to relax their acquisition criteria.

Maxwell Systems Inc., King of Prussia

The construction industry is continuing to recover from the economic downturn, and the upturn will be slow through 2011. Signs of recovery include increasing architectural billings, which are at the highest levels since 2007. Construction companies are displaying renewed enthusiasm, especially relating to Maxwell Systems' new and unique product offerings.

Omni Hotel at Independence Park, Philadelphia

Our industry is showing signs of recovery. It is evident in the occupancy of our hotel as well as the average daily rate that is charged.

SCA Americas Inc., Philadelphia

[The company makes personal-hygiene and paper products.] Fortunately, many of the products we manufacture at SCA are an essential part of people's lives. However, business has been extremely challenging, particularly as it relates to the pricing of our raw materials. This means that we must be constantly innovating to provide the maximum value to our customers.

Almac Group, Souderton

[The company offers pharmaceutical services.] We have been very lucky that we have gained from others' losses. Being that we continue to grow and hire month after month, we have acquired excellent talent that have lost their jobs from like businesses in the industry.