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On Jan. 3, the Institute of Supply Management announced manufacturing expanded for the 29th-consecutive month. "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," says Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Most economists expect continued growth in the U.S. economy and in manufacturing, but that growth is likely to be modest. The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) expects manufacturing production to increase 3 percent in 2012, outstripping U.S. GDP growth which MAPI predicts will be 2.1 percent. MAPI Chief Economist Daniel Meckstroth says, "Pent-up demand for postponed consumer durable goods continues to exist, particularly in motor vehicles. In addition, firms are profitable and have the need to spend more for both traditional and high-tech business equipment, and reasonably strong growth in emerging economies is still driving U.S. exports."
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