As the economy continues to limp along, many are looking to manufacturing as the key to reviving our economic health.

Combined with stories of increased onshoring and reshoring, many headlines are hailing "manufacturing's comeback." Some even go so far as to say we are in the midst of a manufacturing renaissance.

The truth is manufacturing never went away.

A strong manufacturing sector has long been pivotal to our economic prosperity and national security, consistently delivering return on investment, revenue, exports, output and more. Today is no different.

After suffering the worst downturn since the Great Recession, manufacturing has been the driver leading the economic recovery. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, manufacturing has made up 26% of economic growth since 2009 and has added close to half a million jobs since 2010. In that time, real manufacturing output has grown 16% and productivity has increased 15%.

Now is a great time to strike while the iron is hot. There are several combined factors that are creating a favorable environment for a manufacturing growth spurt.

An abundance of natural gas is providing cheap energy. We also have the best science and engineering schools in the world and a genuinely American entrepreneurial spirit. This has helped attract a groundswell in foreign direct investment in manufacturing – currently at $838 million.

The world is paying attention to what the U.S. has to offer and the opportunities for manufacturers are many, if we are able to make the most of them.