With regard to understanding our current economic pattern, it helps to understand the historical data of economic cycles. I have said this in the past but will say it again, I attribute most of what I know to the Institute of Trends Research ITR and economist Alan Beaulieu. I invite you to visit their website for more information economic cycles.
At any rate, the current economic cycle as I have come to understand it is at a mature growth level and may begin to show a decline in "rate of growth" in 2012. This does not mean a decline over last years performance, it simply means a lower level of growth. In other words, if your company had a record year in 2011, you could very well have another record year in 2012 but only slightly better.
Please refer to this article from our own Industry Week magazine that reflects this very concept for 2012. So, slower growth for manufacturing is not a reason for panic, it is simply the economy following a traditional pattern. See ITR's website for more about patterns.
This same cycle should be true for the fluid power industry as well. We tend to follow the overall manufacturing sector of the US economy for our economic cycle. We know that 2011 was a great year for our industry. If the cycle follows the expected pattern, 2012 will be a great year also.