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Report Documents Manufacturing Recovery

A recent report from Arlington, Va.-based trade and education group, The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, documents a turnaround in a substantial number of industrial sectors. The group's Quarterly Industrial Outlook shows that in the fourth quarter of 2003, 21 of 27 analyzed industries had inflation-adjusted new orders or production above the level of one year ago, up significantly from 14 industries in the third quarter of 2003 and 10 industries in the second quarter of 2003. Top performers reporting double-digit growth were semiconductors, housing, electronic computer equipment and construction machinery. "The two missing pieces that are necessary for a sustained industrial recovery are coming back -- exports and business equipment investment," says Daniel J. Meckstroth, the group's chief economist and author of the analysis. In terms of 2004, The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI economist sees double-digit growth in computers (11%) and industrial machinery (10%); moderately strong growth in construction machinery (8%), iron and steel products (7%), communication equipment (7%) and electronics (6%). Only two industries are expected to decline in 2004 -- mining, oilfield and gas machinery production; and aerospace products and parts, each retrenching 1%.

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