Manufacturing industry grows at fastest rate in 7 months
The United States government has attempted to rejuvenate the country's once-prominent manufacturing industry with tax credits and worker training programs, two initiatives that may finally be paying off.
According to the Institute for Supply Management, U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in January at the fastest rate since June, marking the sector's 30th consecutive month of growth. The trade group's manufacturing index rose from 53.1 in December to 54.1 last month, largely due to a rise in new orders.
"This is a very encouraging report on manufacturing activity that shows particular strength in leading indicators," John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics, told the Washington Post.
The report said new orders and order backlogs both reached nine-month highs, indicating many manufacturing companies lack the resources and workforce to accommodate increasing demand. The news is likely well-received in President Barack Obama's administration, as the president recently announced his desire to increase jobs and production among U.S. manufacturing companies.
Many experts and government officials have recently discussed the need for a more skilled workforce, including employees with experience using advanced manufacturing technologies like rapid prototyping, CNC machines, 3D printing and computer aided manufacturing (CAM).
"We do believe that manufacturing punches above its weight economically," Gene Sperling of the White House National Economic Council told the New York Times in a recent report on U.S. manufacturing jobs. "Advanced manufacturing is critical to your innovative capacity as a country."
According to the New York Times report, U.S. manufacturers have added about 330,000 jobs during the past two years.
Last June, Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national initiative designed to increase investments in innovative technologies that will result in quality manufacturing jobs and return the sector to global competitiveness. One of the AMP's objectives is to reduce the time it takes companies to develop and manufacture advanced materials used in products, a goal that processes like rapid prototyping and CNC machining may be able to help accomplish.