Good piece today in USA Today, “A sign of economic recovery: Factory output is growing“:
The nation’s factory output is growing for the first time since early last year, bolstering the case for an economic recovery. While the improvement is modest amid weak consumer spending, some leading manufacturers and economists believe it can be sustained and eventually set off a more robust upswing.
“Production is going to gradually build up steam,” says David Huether, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.
There’s a nice bit of news about inventories from NAM Board Member Stephanie Harkness:
Pacific Plastics & Engineering, a medical device maker, is getting orders again from big health care companies that had been living off inventories, CEO Stephanie Harkness says. Meanwhile, smaller firms are drawing venture capital to finance orders.
Revenue, down about 10% at the start of the year, is recovering enough to make 2009 flat with 2008.
“I see some green shoots in a barren field,” says Harkness, in Monterey, Calif.
USA Today also has a new measuring tool for the economy, the USA TODAY/IHS Global Insight economic outlook index. It predicts GDP growth for October through December, the first increase since September 2008.
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