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Manufacturing, Leading the Economic Recovery

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Bloomberg, “Manufacturing Booms as Deere Exemplifies Surge in Productivity“:

Once-ailing manufacturers are enjoying a robust rebound as cost-saving moves from job cuts to a greater reliance on technology help drive stronger-than-forecast growth. The shift has helped set the stage for a potential “manufacturing renaissance,” says James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Minneapolis-based Wells Capital Management. He predicts the industry will set the pace for U.S. expansion and the American stock market during this decade, as technology did in the 1990s.

“Manufacturing is leading the whole economy,” said Paulsen, whose firm oversees about $340 billion. U.S. manufacturers “had to find religion. They’ve really cleaned up their balance sheets. What is left is the cream of the crop.”

Companies mentioned include Timken, the Canton, Ohio-based maker of roller bearings and steels; Materials Processing, Inc., the Logansport, Indiana-based metals-processing company; Siemens Corp., a subsidiary of the Munich-based Siemens AG; Boeing; Deere & Co.; Cooper Industries Plc, Deere & Co. and Kennametal Inc.

The story builds on recent data and reinforces what many National Association of Manufacturers member companies — other than the ones mentioned above — have been reporting. Economists are seeing the same thing; last Friday, The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog rounded up the reaction of top economists, including Sung Won Sohn of the Smith School of Business and Economics. He said: Read More

The Manufacturing Council

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Thursday announced members of the newly constituted Manufacturing Council, which will operate under the International Trade Administration. From the news release:

The Council’s new charter increases membership from 15 to 25 members and now includes more diverse and expansive industry representation in the manufacturing sector. The appointees represent a broad cross section of the industry and include steel, textile, superconductor and solar panel manufacturers both large and small. Their products support a diverse range of industries such as the auto, aerospace, apparel and energy efficiency sectors.

The Secretaries of Labor, Energy and Treasury have also been added as ex officio members of the Council to better collaborate on cross-cutting issues the Council will address.

 “A vibrant manufacturing sector isn’t just critical for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on it,” Locke said. “Manufacturing is absolutely central to driving the innovation that fuels the American economy.”

“A strong manufacturing sector is critical to the health of the economy,” said Bruce Sohn, President of First Solar, Inc. and newly appointed chair of the Council. “I am pleased to chair this important committee and look forward to presenting the U.S. government with suggestions and direction to strengthen the American manufacturing sector.”

Locke made the announcement on Capitol Hill with members of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Jeff Merkley (OR) and Tom Udall (NM).