Yes, the situation as I described earlier is one where we have the economy now, for the first time in many years, operating close to its potential. What one expects to see at this stage of the cycle, then, is firms that find themselves right at their full potential. In some cases, in fact, some 75% of those surveyed in the manufacturing sector say they're operating above their normal capacity level. That would be overtime, and that sort of thing.
When we get to that stage, companies generally begin to invest more, not just to replace equipment but to actually expand their capacity. It could be an upgrade in technology, in which case they might be able to expand their capacity without adding more workers, but very often it's not the case. What happens is that they actually add more workers too.
It is a really important stage of the business cycle for us. We haven't been here for some time. In most business cycles, when you have that upturn, you reach that capacity stage and the forecasters, ourselves included, have a trend line that's the economy's potential. We're saying that we're about at that trend line now.
However, what happens at this late stage is that companies add more capacity and the trend line tilts up for a while and gives us more capacity. When we say there's excess capacity in the labour market, that's where the economy has more room to grow. It means that those people, the discouraged workers, such as those who are working part time, can get a full-time job and those kinds of things. That adds to the economy's capacity.
By our surveys, the economy is primed and ready for this phase. We thought we saw the early signs of it in the first half of this year, and it's very reassuring to see. Despite the concern expressed almost universally about the uncertainty, going forward, about trade arrangements, despite that layer of uncertainty, companies nevertheless are prepared to invest. We take from this that their intentions would be even higher were it not for that uncertainty.