The Experts Weigh in on U.S. Manufacturing Outlook

manufacturing-robotReading through the WSJ online today, I ran across an interesting article  ( ) on the state of manufacturing in the U.S.

The Experts agree that the forecast for manufacturing in the U.S. is good – with reservations! They say that although there is a move to ‘reshoring’, with more than 20,000 jobs in manufacturing returning from Asia and Mexico in the past few years, we should not expect a return to the 20 million jobs in manufacturing there were in 1979.

However, we should expect to see growth due to a variety of factors that include:

  • Rising cost of overseas manufacturing (for example, in China) and worries about breaks in the supply chain (for example after the Tsunami in Japan).
  • Lower manufacturing costs for industries dependent on gas, thanks to cheaper gas prices resulting from the success of shale gas production.
  • Increased demand for exports of manufactured goods including automobiles and aircraft to Asia and the Middle East.
  • A rise in demand for ‘customized’ manufacturing, (for example, 3D printing), more suited to local business and industry within the U.S..
  • Advances in IT and new software driving the design of new products and technologies.

Mark Muro, who is policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution (where he is a senior fellow), describes the convergence between manufacturing and ‘high tech’ services as the AI Sector or ‘advanced industries’ sector. This convergence seems to signpost the way forward for the U.S. Manufacturing Industry if it is to regain its pre-eminence on the World stage.