Raising the Alarm for US Manufacturing

Raising the Alarm for US Manufacturing

Feb 7, 2018

By Steve Minter, IndustryWeek Rebuild Manufacturing: The Key to American Prosperity In her latest book chronicling the state of U.S. manufacturing and the policy changes needed to shore up the sector, Michele Nash-Hoff, a contributor to IndustryWeek, notes that one of her ancestors was Paul Revere. While Nash-Hoff has not been galloping through the Massachusetts countryside warning of British troops, she has been crisscrossing the United States in recent years visiting American factories, warning of threats to domestic manufacturing and offering advice on how to rebuild the manufacturing ecosystem. Paul Revere, a celebrated silversmith who also ran a foundry after the Revolutionary War, would be proud. Rebuild Manufacturing (Coalition for a Prosperous America, 2017) starts off with a recounting of statistics that are familiar to many manufacturers but still shocking. The U.S. lost 5.86 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and early 2010, or roughly the populations of Chicago, Houston and Indianapolis combined. During that decade, the U.S. lost 57,000 manufacturing firms. Throughout this period and for a considerable time before, educators and parents were watching (or experiencing) what was happening in manufacturing. The lesson they imparted to countless kids: Manufacturing has no future in the U.S. and neither will you if you choose a career in a factory. Thanks to a long recovery beginning in the Obama administration and continuing in the Trump presidency, manufacturing is coming back, though that journey is far from over. Activists such as Nash-Hoff have helped turn the tide against the popular belief in Washington and other centers of economic thought that the U.S. had grown out of the need for manufacturing. It is increasingly clear that a vibrant manufacturing sector is crucial to a healthy and growing U.S. economy. In Rebuild Manufacturing, Nash-Hoff offers a wealth of information and recommendations on what can be done to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. She points the finger repeatedly at the huge trade imbalance with a mercantilist China (in 2017, nearly $309 billion through October) and calls for action by Trump and Congress to fight intellectual property theft and take a much tougher stand against acquisitions of American companies by Chinese firms. “Letting Chinese corporations acquire American companies, especially energy or technology-based companies is the biggest threat...

U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since…

U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since…

Feb 2, 2018

“U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since 2004” By Sho Chandra, Bloomberg U.S. factories expanded more than forecast in January and near the fastest pace in more than 13 years, indicating manufacturing was still powering ahead at the start of 2018, Institute for Supply Management data showed Thursday.Factory index was little changed at 59.1 (est. 58.6) from 59.3 in Dec.; readings above 50 indicate expansion Highlights of ISM Manufacturing (January) Factory index was little changed at 59.1 (est. 58.6) from 59.3 in Dec.; readings above 50 indicate expansion  Gauge remains close to Sept. reading of 60.2, which was the highest since June 2004 Measure of new orders cooled to 65.4 from an almost 14-year high of 67.4 Employment gauge fell to an eight-month low of 54.2 from 58.1   Key Takeaways The January reading, which exceeded the 57.4 average for 2017, shows manufacturing is benefiting from solid consumer spending and business investment. What’s more, a measure of exports advanced to an almost seven-year high, underscoring improving overseas markets.  The pickup in manufacturing is starting to generate inflation pressures as factories demand more raw materials including crude oil. The ISM’s measure of prices paid increased to the highest level since May 2011.  In a sign factories are challenged by elevated demand, the ISM’s measure of supplier deliveries climbed to a three-month high and its backlogs index rose to the highest level since September. The ISM report comes a day before the Labor Department’s January jobs report, which is projected to show an increase in factory payrolls helped to boost overall employment. Other Details ISM measure of prices paid jumped to 72.7 from 68.3 Index of factory inventories rose to 52.3, indicating stockpiles were expanding, from 48.5  Gauge of production fell to 64.5 from 65.2  Export orders measure advanced to 59.8, the strongest since April 2011, from 57.6 Supplier deliveries gauge rose to 59.1, indicating longer lead times, from 57.2; index of backlogs climbed to 56.2 from 54.9  — With assistance by Chris...

Manufacturing Jobs ‘Roaring Back’?

Manufacturing Jobs ‘Roaring Back’?

Jan 12, 2018

By Eugene Kiely, FactCheck.org Vice President Mike Pence touted the latest jobs report as proof that “manufacturing is roaring back.” The previous administration made a similar claim, but experts then and now said it’s premature to declare a manufacturing renaissance. The economy added 196,000 manufacturing jobs last year — the most in any year since 2014, when the economy added 208,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the manufacturing sector has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession. As of December 2017, there were 12.5 million manufacturing jobs – 1.2 million fewer than there were in December 2007, when the recession started, BLS data show. At last year’s growth rate, it would take until nearly 2023 just to recover the jobs lost during the recession. Pence made his remarks in an interview with the conservative radio show host Dana Loesch. “Look at the jobs numbers that were just released last week — manufacturing is roaring back,” he said. The employment figures released on Jan. 5 showed an increase of 25,000 manufacturing jobs in December. That resulted, as we said, in a net gain for the year of 196,000 jobs. That was much better than in 2016, when the economy lost 16,000 manufacturing jobs. But it was not as good as 2011 or 2014, when the economy added a little more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs in each of those years. Pence’s declaration of a manufacturing comeback reminded us of when his Democratic predecessor, Joe Biden, boasted in 2012 that “manufacturing is back” after a few years of job growth. But, as we wrote at the time, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation dismissed such talk as premature. Rob Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, tells us it is still premature. Atkinson, co-author of a 2015 report called “The Myth of America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Real State of U.S. Manufacturing,” said that being 1.2 million short of the pre-recession jobs level is just one indication that manufacturing is not back. “Even more telling,” Atkinson told us, “the U.S. is producing less manufacturing output in the second quarter of 2017 than it did in the last quarter of 2007,” when the recession started. “Almost 10 years and NO growth in real...

US Manufacturing Adds 25,000 Jobs in December

US Manufacturing Adds 25,000 Jobs in December

Jan 9, 2018

By Bill Koenig, AdvancedManufacturing.org US manufacturing added 25,000 jobs in December, primarily in durable goods. Makers of durable goods boosted payrolls by 21,000 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry sector released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs gains were widespread throughout durable goods. Major gainers included machinery (up 6000 jobs) and fabricated metal products (up 5400). The only durable goods category posting a job loss was furniture, down 700. The December results capped off a year that saw manufacturing employment expand by 196,000 jobs, of which 130,000 was in durable goods industries. Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs in 2016, the bureau said in a statement. In 2015 and 2016, aerospace and the auto industry were the strongest job performers in manufacturing. During 2017, other industries picked up the pace of job generation. Manufacturing totaled 12.539 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in December. That’s up from 12.514 million in November and 12.343 million in December 2016. Total Jobs Total non-farm employment increased by 148,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in the statement. That was less than the 190,000 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The US unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%, the bureau said. Manufacturing jobs peaked in June 1979 (19.6 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, 19.7 million unadjusted). That sank to a low of 11.45 million adjusted and 11.34 million unadjusted in February 2010 following a severe recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Since that low, new manufacturing jobs have been created requiring increased skills because of increased automation and technology in...

Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?

Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?

Jan 2, 2018

Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?  The largest generation in the U.S. is taking its place in manufacturing — and the experts are betting this tech-savvy cohort is ready to stir things up. By Steve Minter, Industry Week  Dark, dirty and dangerous — mention the 3Ds of old-time manufacturing and HR managers shudder. It’s exactly the image they don’t want the public — or millennials considering careers in manufacturing — to have of the industry. They want to be able to talk about an industry that is attractive and safe, innovative, even cool. So it must gladden the hearts of Lockheed Martin recruiters when Emilee Bianco talks about being “excited” to work at Lockheed Martin Space System’s facility in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bianco, 25, has been working on building solar arrays to power satellites. As a manufacturing engineer, Bianco takes design specifications, puts them into work instructions and then works to ensure that satellite hardware is built correctly. Though she has been working just over a year for Lockheed Martin, she has already been part of a transition to a new type of solar array that uses thin, flexible sheets in place of rigid panels. The flexible arrays produce 50% more power but with 30% less mass. Bianco has also been part of automation efforts where robots are used to place solar cells on panels. Working with Lockheed on space technologies, she says, is “almost a guarantee” that you will be working on cutting-edge projects. Bianco’s generation now makes up the largest in the United States — 83.1 million, according the U.S. Census Bureau versus 75.4 million baby boomers. Not surprisingly, millennials also make up the largest share of the American workforce — one in three workers is a millennial, the Pew Research Center reports. As baby boomers leave the workforce and millennials make up a more significant part of it, many manufacturers believe that this generation will change manufacturing. “Millennials have already started changing the manufacturing and supply chains — and for the better,” says Kathie Karls-Bilski, HR director for 3M Supply Chain. For example, she says that supply chains are becoming more digitized and millennials will foster that change because of their facility with new tech....