A Nation of Makers: Manufacturing Leads the Recovery

By April 1, 2011Economy

This report from Fox Business, “The Economy’s Lone Strength: Manufacturing?,” capably describes manufacturing’s vitality and importance in the current economic recovery.

“Manufacturing has a bum rap,” said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economic affairs with the National Association of Manufacturers. “Manufacturing is not on its last legs. It’s not at its peak, but it’s growing faster than the rest of the economy and it’s leading the economy.”

Consider some numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce: 2010 factory shipments totaled $5 trillion, up 9% from $4.6 trillion in 2009; the value of pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals shipped from U.S. factories rose 44% in 2010 from 2009; the value of iron and steel mill products rose 42% from a year earlier; and the value of construction machinery increased 35% year over year.

What’s more, Vargo noted that in 2010 the average U.S. factory worker could produce 40% more than the same worker did a decade ago. “I mean, that’s productive,” he said.

The story’s not a rebuttal of Stephen Moore’s analysis below, but it fills out the picture. Employment numbers are not the only measure of economic strengths or weaknesses.


ThomasNetNews.com, “Manufacturers Optimistic About Business Outlook and Hiring“:

Manufacturers have grown noticeably more positive about near-term business activity, with major improvements in the outlook for employment conditions, according to new findings.

Business prospects for the year ahead have strongly improved among manufacturers worldwide, with United States manufacturing executives forecasting particularly promising near-term results, new survey findings suggest. As revenues and profits are expected to rise over the next 12 months, manufacturers also anticipate that hiring will follow.

In KPMG International’s latest Global Business Outlook survey, released this week, 68 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives said they expect improved business activity over the next 12-month period, up from 57 percent who said the same in the previous survey in October. Sixty-five percent forecast higher revenues, compared with 52 percent in October, while 62 percent believe profits will increase, up from 47 percent in October.

Also, Financial Times, “Survey finds global business optimism.”

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