More good news for American manufacturing. On the heels of yesterday's report which showed manufacturing in December posted its 17th straight month of growth, the Census Bureau has a new report on manufactured goods.
The takeaway is positive: in November, new orders for manufactured goods (most notably metals, construction machinery, and electronic products) increased by $3.2 billion (0.7 percent). The number is even higher, says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, if we exclude orders for civilian aircrafts -- a wildly fluctuating category that dropped by fifty percent and tells us little about overall economic recovery.
The economists we spoke with agreed that this latest set of data was universally positive. "We're starting off very strongly this year," Baumohl said, "this will all mean that as orders pick up it will lead to incrases in future production, and that production willl lead to future employment."
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that manufacturers will necessarily be hiring at increased rates; there isn't a direct link between the factory orders and hiring. But, Joshua Shapiro, Chief U.S. Economist at MFR, Inc. says, "the overall picture within the report is hardly surprising: what we're seeing is increased evidence that recovery is strong."
Baumohl thought the positive news will be reflected by a boost in employment beginning early 2011, and expects this Friday's coming jobs report to be positive. Of course, this says nothing about what the new employment opportunities will be, and as this New York Times piece recently reported, finding a new job does not mean it will be as good as the one that was lost.