Manufacturing Production Rose in October to the Highest Level in More than 10 Years

By November 16, 2018Shopfloor Main

According to the Federal Reserve, manufacturing production increased by 0.3 percent in October, rising for the fifth straight month to its highest level since June 2008.

The index for manufacturing activity rose from 105.1 in September to 105.4 in October. The accompanying chart illustrates just how much the sector has come back since the Great Recession, with a notable acceleration in the past couple years. Manufacturers are experiencing phenomenal growth in 2018, for instance, with the sector seeing output up 2.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Other indicators have also reflected this strength, including the NAM’s outlook survey, which continues to reflect optimism readings at historic highs. Pro-growth policies, including tax reform and a changed regulatory environment, have helped to make manufacturing one of the bright spots in the economy. In addition, manufacturing capacity utilization inched up from 76.1 percent in September to 76.2 percent in October, its best rate since July 2015.

There’s of course more work to do to guarantee this growth continues. A growing gap between the number of manufacturing job openings and the number of skilled workers to fill them could derail much of the success we’ve seen the past few years. Uncertainty around trade and exports could dampen further growth.

It’s clear, however, that the U.S. manufacturing industry is running full-steam ahead and smart policy decisions are putting the industry on the right track.

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research for The Manufacturing Institute, where he serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers through professional presentations and media interviews. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets.
Chad Moutray

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