With Exports, U.S. Manufacturing on the Rebound, Mostly, Kinda

By October 9, 2009Economy, General, Trade

We wouldn’t go as Canada’s The Financial Post, which proclaims, “U.S. manufacturing rises from the ashes,” but certainly acknowledge good news:

With the global economy expanding and the U.S. export sector getting an additional boost from a sliding greenback, “Made in USA” stocks are looking attractive, even for currency-obsessed Canadian investors.

“Conventional wisdom does not appreciate the strength of U.S. manufacturing,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York. “It remains the world’s largest manufacturer and it achieved this with an absolute and relative decline in the share of labour it commands.”

The Post uses the peg of Alcoa’s surprise profits announced Wednesday.

Along those lines, the Department of Commerce today announced that U.S. exports increased by 0.2 percent in August to $128.2 billion since July 2009. Imports declined 0.6 percent to $158.9 billion.

The NAM’s chief economist, David Huether, commented:

As the U.S. domestic economy continues to struggle to recover from the deepest recession in the post-World War II era, we are seeing more signs of improvement. Today’s report brings welcome news of a recovery in exports. U.S. manufacturers have become more globally engaged over the past several decades, and this positive trend continues. Clearly, export growth will be an increasingly important ingredient in our economic performance.

Also, today’s news from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that its composite leading indicator improved again in August for the sixth consecutive month clearly signals that economic recoveries have begun for most of our major trading partners. That means more opportunities for U.S. exports.

The emerging export recovery should remind everyone in Washington how dependent we are on foreign trade. Reducing barriers to trade means more good paying jobs in and out of manufacturing. Congress should approve the free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. We have a trade surplus in manufactured goods with our FTA partners, and these agreements will mean more exports – and jobs – for our country.

That said, about two-thirds of the members of NAM’s small and medium-sized manufacturers group who were in town this week reported business as being poor; the rest split between flat and glood.

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