Manufacturing Renaissance?

Le vitrail de la renaissance
Le vitrail de la renaissance (Photo credit: Geoffroy65)

Manufacturing  Renaissance?

Is there or isn’t there a manufacturing Renaissance? I would love to give you a simple yes or no response but the fact is, it is just too early to tell. There is a wonderful chart provided at from the magazine, Slate, and the article by Matthew Yglesias, that does tend to indicate such a Renaissance is happening. But that is the best evidence I have seen so far, and there is a lot of disagreement.

A manufacturing Renaissance would a game changer in many areas of corporate social responsibility. The idea that global competition is inevitably destructive of the middle class, labor unions and government regulation would be even less intellectually persuasive than it is now.

It would be wonderful for the nation. It would empower American firms and the nation more generally in their dealings with the world. It would increase American revenues and give American workers more income and more bargaining power.

So, I can be hopeful but the evidence is still lacking that this event is actually happening.

James Pilant

(But the idea does have its adherents) –

Monsters Abroad

A regular theme in this blog has been that America’s strategic prospects are being revived by the dynamism of its private sector even as China faces a more problematic future.  As earlier posts (here, here and here) have outlined, the marked surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production that has transformed the country’s energy outlook over the last few years promises to have far-reaching economic and geopolitical ramifications.  The bonanza of low-cost energy, which the Wall Street Journal dubs “Saudi America”, has also given the U.S. manufacturing sector a significant competitive advantage.

Separate from the energy boom but fortifying its manufacturing effects are America’s innate advantages in what is becoming known as the “third industrial revolution” – one that is powered by high-skill labor as well as seminal progress in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, composite materials, and “additive manufacturing” or three-dimensional computerized manufacturing.

From around the web.

From the web site, Inside Public Minds.

If so, this could mean good news for the economy. Manufacturing represents 67% of private-sector research and development (R&D) spending and 30% of the country’s productivity growth. Every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy. For the first time in more than a decade, the number of factory jobs has increased instead of decreased. American productivity growth, compressed wages, and higher energy costs have contributed to the return of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Some of America’s largest blue chip multinationals, like Ford, GE, and United Technologies, are headed back to the states.

From the web site, Barberbiz.

For awhile there, I was feeling like a voice in the wilderness. I was going against the tide and still am to some degree. But I no longer feel so much alone.

Now others, with more credibility than me, are saying what I’ve been saying in this blog for more than a year. It was a Wall Street Journal last week from which I felt some vindication. Here’s the headline: “Signs of Factory Revival Hard to Spot.”

And here is the first sentence or the lead, which states it better than I ever have: “The idea that American manufacturing is on the cusp of a renaissance is everywhere these days – except in the hard numbers.”

As my friend Paulie on the Lower East Side would say, “badda bing, badda boom.”

From the web site, America and the Global Economy.

It is still unclear if the “Manufacturing Renaissance” will generate enduring consequences for the U.S. economy—an increase in U.S. industrial production has yet to occur. According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production fell by 0.5 percent in April. Furthermore, although the total number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has increased by 520,000 since January 2010, only 50,000 of those jobs are due to re-shoring. It is therefore disputable as to whether efforts to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. will contribute to profound and lasting benefits for the U.S. economy, or if companies’ current efforts in this capacity will merely amount to a short-lived phase.

From the web site, paco manufacturing’s blog.

Back in May, an analysis by The Boston Consulting Group, was released stating that the rise in China’s labor cost could see a “Manufacturing Renaissance” within the United States, particularly within certain states.  It was an uplifting article as it stated, “We expect net labor costs for manufacturing in China and the U.S. to converge by around 2015.  As a result of the changing economics, you’re going to see a lot more products ‘Made in the USA’ in the next five years.”  The article goes on to state that a number of companies have already begun to rethink their production locations and supply chains for goods destined to be sold in the U.S.  It looks as if a window of opportunity is opening within the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, which should be given serious consideration by all.

From the web site, Ryan’s Writing House.

In order for the manufacturing sector to truly begin to grow again in the United States, we have to understand where the growth is and promote that. The strengths that we have here is that we are located in a major consumer base, and can produce extremely high quality goods faster than pretty much anywhere else. If the US focuses more on higher end manufacturing, it can still take advantage of the fact that every dollar of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy, without losing sight of our strengths. This also means that we have to make significant changes to our education system, to ensure that it is giving out the type of education that people need to be successful in this increasingly globalized game.

Enhanced by Zemanta