Forecast: A Slower 2006

But all sectors to expand except automotive.

Overall, U.S. manufacturing production will continue to expand in 2006. But the rate of growth will slow to 3%, below the 3.4% expected for this year and the 4.8% recorded in 2004, predicts the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group.

Its initial forecasts for 19 selected industries show 18 posting production growth in 2006. The exception: motor vehicles.

Alphabetically, by industry, here are the alliance's projected production percentages.

  • Aerospace products and parts: up 9% in 2006, half again as good as 2005's 6% increase.
  • Alumina and aluminum: up 10% in 2006, reversing a 1% decline in 2005.
  • Appliances: up 3% in 2006, the same as 2005, as household appliance demand continues.
  • Chemicals: up 6% in 2006, following a 1% increase in 2005.
  • Communications equipment: up 15% in 2006, following a 17% increase in 2005.
  • Construction machinery: up 9% in 2006, reversing 2005's 2% decline.
  • Electrical equipment: up 4% in 2006, a repeat of 2005's 4% increase.
  • Electronic instruments: up just 2% in 2006, much lower than 2005's 12% increase.
  • Engine, turbine and power- transmission equipment: up 4% in 2006, just a third of 2005's 12% increase.
  • Fabricated metal products: up 4% in 2006, twice 2005's 2%.
  • HVAC equipment: up 13% in 2006, more than four times 2005's 3% increase.
  • Industrial machinery: up 10% in 2006, after rising 7% this year.
  • Lighting equipment: up 11% in 2006, 11 times 2005's 1% increase.
  • Medical equipment and supplies: up 7% in 2006, somewhat slower than 2005's 10% increase.
  • Metalworking machinery: up 10% in 2006, a bit better than 2005's 7% increase.
  • Mining, oil field and gas field machinery: up 7% in 2006, half 2005's 14% increase.
  • Motor vehicles and parts: down 1% in 2006, a reversal from 2005's 2% increase.
  • Paper and paper products: up 3% in 2006, following 2% growth in 2005.
  • Pharmaceuticals and medicine: up 4% in 2006, twice 2005's 2% increase.
  • Steel: up 7% in 2006, seven times 2005's 1% increase.
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