At Home & Abroad
Where you get your product matters. Margins, product quality and shipping speed all depend on where a product is made. Any changes to the rules and trends of manufacturing locations, then, could have an impact on your business.
The question is: Are the rules and trends currently changing? Is the U.S. finally hitting its much-promised manufacturing resurgence, and if so, in what product sectors? Are foreign manufacturing powerhouses like China and India maintaining their strength? And what's going on politically? Should I expect America's support of domestic manufacturing to continue, or are rougher waters ahead?
All good questions, and ones you should know the answers to.
THE STATE OF U.S. MANUFACTURING
According to the Institute for Supply Management, a not-for-profit educational organization that reports monthly on the state of American manufacturing, U.S. manufacturing has been expanding for about a year. Its May 1, 2014 report cited an average of 4.4 percent growth every month since May 2013. The report also had a "New Orders Index," which showed growth for the last 11 months, at an average rate of 4 percent. Relevant industries experiencing growth in new orders cited in the report included: apparel, leather & allied products; miscellaneous manufacturing; textile mills; computer & electronic products; plastics & rubber products; and paper products.
Employment was also up for the 10th straight month, with the report citing "printing & related support activities; apparel, leather & allied products; paper products; miscellaneous manufacturing; and computer & electronic products" as specific industries reporting an increase in hiring for April 2014. Plastics & rubber products, however, reported a decrease. The long-term growth in these areas would suggest that, at least for the printing and promotional industries, the U.S. is finally starting to hit its long-promised manufacturing stride. Other sources further corroborate the apparent resurgence of American manufacturing, while also laying out some of the issues currently facing overseas manufacturing.