John Hilsenrath and Damian Paletta from the Wall Street Journal have an interesting article in today’s paper that takes a look at how the question, “Are you better off now than four years ago?,” is framing the election. In particular, Hilsenrath and Paletta focused on manufacturing as one of the few areas where people have indicated that they are doing better. “Local manufacturing is re-emerging as a bright spot. The one-million-square-foot Mack Truck factory, which employs Mr. Ritter, recently added a second shift of 300 workers to keep up with demand for the big vehicles that bear its bulldog logo…”
We are not surprised to see yet another news story that points this out. Manufacturers have been the bright spot of our nascent economic recovery, but frankly it has been in spite of the policies coming out of Washington. The significant uptick in the regulatory burden combined with the uncertainty the U.S. is facing because of the fiscal cliff have made it a much more difficult road for manufacturers.
Recent economic indicators show that manufacturers are struggling to plan for the future. Now the bright spot is starting to get cloudy as many are looking at or have instituted hiring freezes, delayed orders, and reported significant declines in their business. Today’s article provides a good demonstration of what manufacturing can do for a community – with the high investment in good paying jobs and capital equipment, manufacturers are poised to be leaders in both the national and local economies. According to the article, you can certainly see that in Allentown.
Of course, keeping those gains and moving forward is dependent on seeing strong pro-growth policies out of Washington so that manufacturers can stop swimming against the current and lead our recovery.