The year 2011 was marked by protests of corporate America, which occupied headlines for much of the
year. Global concerns over the growing debt crisis in Europe made manufacturers in the U.S. Fear for
their export sectors—and their profits. The government’s failure to act on many expiring credits and
incentives didn’t make things any better. Despite these obstacles and the recovering U.S. economy, the
manufacturing industry ended 2011 on a high that is expected to roll over into 2012.
Year End 2011
Despite the political and economic turmoil that all industries saw in 2011, the manufacturing industry
grew steadily throughout the year. December 2011 saw a growth of 3.3 percent in both employment
and production in manufacturing. The increase in employment is a great sign in a nation where millions
are still out of work and seeking relief. There were concerns that the export sectors in manufacturing
would suffer because of the debt crisis that seemed to take over the European economies. However,
such fears were apparently not as relevant in 2011, as the growth in production rates show.
The growth in production and employment is expected to continue through 2012. The Manufacturer’s
Alliance for Productivity and Innovation predicts a three percent increase production. This number
is higher than the 2.1 percent increase predicted for the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). MAPI
further predicts growth in 18 of the 24 sectors that comprise the manufacturing industry. Housing is a
part of that prediction, surprisingly. The housing market has been the basis for much of the economic
turmoil that firms have experienced since the recession in 2008. Growth in this area has much larger
connotations for the economy at large. Energy, industrial equipment and transportation sectors are
expected to lead the 2012 manufacturing growth.
The growth in the manufacturing sector is expected to spill over into the next year. In fact, MAPI
confidently predicts a four percent rate for 2013, with 23 of the 24 sectors benefiting.
The general consensus is that manufacturing is marching forward and upward. If the past two years
are any indicator, the rest of the country will follow. Expect a closer look at the manufacturing
sector throughout the year, along with spirited analysis of the production numbers. Historically, the
manufacturing industry is the one that, once it rises, takes all other industries along for the ride. This is
something the country will welcome.
Eagle Technologies group is an industry leader in the design and implementation of factory automation systems worldwide.