Manufacturing – Looking Forward and Backward

As we enter a new year, it’s always helpful to look over our shoulder at the year that we’re leaving behind. For those of us involved in the manufacturing industry, it’s helpful to look a little further than that.

It’s been an interesting few years in our industry. As we all know, the economic trouble we saw in 2009 created ripples that are still obvious today, and will likely be with us for some time to come. But as with 2010, there’s a bright spot on the horizon in the form of global manufacturing.

Despite the constant stream of conflicting economic data, manufacturing has shown signs of strength. Many machine tool manufacturers have seen an impressive rebound over the last two years, showing that manufacturing businesses are again beginning to invest in capital equipment. But it goes deeper than that, to the basic measurements of how much manufacturing is being done overall.

The Institute of Supply Management has been tracking manufacturing output since 1948. In their report any score above 50 means growth, any score under 50 means contraction. The final report for 2011 showed that the manufacturing industry has experienced 29 straight months of slow, steady growth. While the growth might not be as fast as we might like, that kind of solid, slow, ongoing recovery is good news for us all.

Footnote: Please click on the graphic above to view it at a larger size.

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