U.S. manufacturing grows, fueling economic and job recovery  The U.S. manufacturing sector is helping drive overall economic growth, according to experts.

The New York Times reports although manufacturers in the U.S. are often at a competitive disadvantage with their counterparts in other countries – specifically China and South America – they are fueling a resurgence in the nation's job market.

Moreover, the latest report from the Institute for Supply Management on the U.S. manufacturing sector indicated it is expanding, even amid concerns of a decline in business demand prompted by Europe's sovereign debt crisis. In December, manufacturing activity in the U.S. jumped considerably, according to ISM chair Bradley J. Holcomb.

"The PMI registered 53.9 percent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from November's reading of 52.7 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 29th consecutive month. The New Orders Index increased 0.9 percentage point from November to 57.6 percent, reflecting the third consecutive month of growth after three months of contraction," he said in a statement.

Though it is not routinely seen as such, the U.S. is one of the most robust manufacturing powerhouses in the world. In 2010, for example, it trailed only China in total exports. Companies that produce goods in the U.S. tend to excel at supply chain management and in implementing manufacturing cost reduction programs, which has helped increase their competitiveness over the past few years.

This renaissance among U.S. manufacturers has led to a wave of hiring among companies. Total employment in the sector hit 11.8 million in 2011, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report on Friday that domestic manufacturers added a net surplus of workers for the past two consecutive years, illustrating the industry's about-face.

Nevertheless, manufacturing employment is still precipitously lower than its peak in 1979, when more than 19.6 million people worked in the sector. A slowdown in Europe and elsewhere around the globe could also hurt production and prompt some companies to layoff workers, experts say. But for now, manufacturers are continuing to grow in a tepid economic climate, Holcomb noted.

"Manufacturing is finishing out the year on a positive note, with new orders, production and employment all growing in December at faster rates than in November, and with an optimistic view toward the beginning of 2012 as reflected by the panel in this month's survey," he added.


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  1. America's manufacturing prowess had never been put in doubt. The ability to innovate and to build high tech has not been questioned.

    The problem is, America has already chosen a post-industrial era "industrial policy", and in the last 15 years has staked the policy with the full faith and credit of the nation, and the best minds the country can offer.

    BIPARTISAN consensus, with full cooperation by most national politicians and the administration, has promulgated a national economic policy of gambling at a level of $700 TRILLION (50 times the American GDP). This number was reported by Bloomberg, as the size of the derivatives casino in America as of June, 2011. Regrettably, no American mainstream media (including the Atlantic) followed up with analyzing the effects and risks of this festering financial cancer, that is affecting not only the American economy, but that of the entire world.

    When you consider that the American banking sector has only $16 Trillion in total balance sheet assets (much of which is questionable due to the fact that most derivatives cannot be priced), gambling at a level of $700 Trillion (about 44 TIMES assets) is RECKLESS to the extreme. And yet Washington acts as if the irresponsibility is a good thing.

    Today, American banking is synonymous with "trading” unregulated OTC derivatives. I believe it was reported that B of A made 90% of its profits in 2010 on trading; the number of SBA loans made also dropped by about 90% from previous levels. American banks don't bank (lend) anymore, they trade. They are not really banks anymore, but malignant forms of their former selves.

    On its face, as a grand national strategy, derivatives look brilliant. As a postindustrial move, derivatives are not constrained by natural resources, not limited by labor, and restricted only by the salesmen’s ability to sell. Upside growth looks unlimited, as "derivatives trading" is based solely on the "ingenuity" of the new-fangled breed of financial engineers.

    The "minor detail" is that unlike most other business endeavors, derivatives do not produce anything. $700 Trillion in derivatives did not produce a single shirt, a single tire, or even a hamburger. It is purely redistributive - one side wins, and the other loses, with the croupier (banker) taking a cut as intermediary. Derivatives, in other words, is pure gambling.

    One can not create or maintain stability by pushing a national policy of rounding up all the major banks and financial institutions of the nation, and have them GAMBLE as a principal occupation, at a scale 50 times the GDP of the entire nation – it is SHEER MADNESS!. Worse yet, this irresponsibility is further forced upon the world, on all other nations that wish to trade with America, in the name of FREE TRADE.

    2008 complicated things a bit. The world witnessed how even 100 year old financial houses can go belly up overnight. Lehman Bros. had $60 Billion of derivatives on its books, lost 3% or $2 Billion, which wiped out its equity. WHAT is the significance of that? 3% of $700 Trillion is $21 Trillion, which is more than the TOTAL equity of ALL American financial companies. AND you would never know when it would hit, or even which bank it might hit.

    You think that would stabilize any economy? How many MF Globals are going to happen in 2012?

    As an aside, against that backdrop, disputes over merchandise trade (a billion here, a few hundred millions there) are rather irrelevant. The real economic "battleground" in this 21st century is going to be over industrial policies in a post industrial world - mostly over the financial industry. It is absolutely necessary to discuss and compare risks in various nations' banking and financial systems, to identify systemic risks and frauds that could infect the whole world.