The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) released a report on January 12, which indicated that the organization's composite index of manufacturing activity edged down during the fourth quarter. The sector expansion denoted by this figure could mean strong rises in manufacturing staffing.
The reading declined to 66 in the fourth quarter from 67 in the third quarter. The index has been above 50 for the last nine quarters, according to MarketWatch. Readings that exceed 50 are significant because they indicate that activity should continue to expand, while a result below 50 would denote contraction in the coming months. The index reached a record high of 81 in June 2001, and then declined for six consecutive quarters, IndustryWeek reports. Even during this period of dropping readings, the index averaged 70.8.
The survey results were obtained by polling senior financial executives working in the manufacturing sector, and involved asking the participants various questions related to the euro zone debt situation, Shopfloor reports. A full 97 percent of the respondents predicted that Europe's economy would fall into recession in 2012, and 45 percent of these participants stated that their exports were being lowered by trouble in the area. The sentiment expressed in the survey was stronger to various comparable measures of market sentiment.
“Despite the challenges posed by slower economic growth and continued problems in the construction and financial sectors, the manufacturing sector is the ‘Energizer Bunny’ of the U.S. economy,” Donald Norman, MAPI economist and survey coordinator, stated in comments that were meant to go along with the report, MarketWatch reports. “Barring a meltdown in the Eurozone, the U.S. manufacturing sector should continue growing at a moderate pace heading into 2012."
This positive outlook comes as a small manufacturer based in Minnesota released a statement on January 10 announcing the opening of its new factory in Detroit, Michigan, which will manufacture flat-screen televisions. When production of the electronic devices begins in March, the company will be the only one to make televisions in the United States.
The company cited improved supply chain conditions as a major reason for manufacturing televisions in the United States. The decision also had to do with bringing jobs back to the country.
"This was also an emotional decision for the company, maybe even a patriotic choice. [The manufacturer] is an American company....We have watched for years as jobs have left America for other countries. We have wanted to and planned for producing TV's here, at home," company president Mike O'Shaughnessy said in a statement.
These production plans could spur the creation of many manufacturing jobs.