Mark C. Tomlinson, executive director and general manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, wants to spread the good news. He issued the following statement:
"Month after month of depressing economic news has many hoping for a miracle to return the U.S. economy to its former glory. This miracle, however, won't be found on Wall Street or on Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The miracle lies in U.S. innovation and manufacturing. After a decade of bankers gone wild, America needs create real wealth by making things rather than selling complex derivatives in the markets.
"The service and financial sectors just redistribute existing wealth. The twin powers of innovation and manufacturing actually create wealth. It goes back to Economics 101: wealth is created by taking materials of relatively low value and transforming them into products of considerable value. In other words, wealth comes from making things.
"U.S. manufacturing contributes more than $1.6 trillion to our GDP, and if it stood alone, it would rank as one of the top ten largest economies in the world. Despite continuing reports of its decline, U.S. manufacturing may be down, but it's definitely not out. By far, the U.S., not China, is the world's leading manufacturer by value of goods produced, and for every $1 of value produced in China, America generates $2.50.
Mark C. Tomlinson, Executive Director & General Manager, Society of Manufacturing Engineers
"While there's no question that hundreds of thousands of repetitive manufacturing jobs have been lost in the past few years, 50% of manufacturing executives still report they have difficulty finding qualified workers. There remains a demand in some areas of the country for highly trained manufacturing professionals like operations managers, engineers, lean specialists, machine operators and welders.
"There's other good news in U.S. manufacturing. Companies around the country are diversifying and evolving to meet the demands of a new economic reality. They are identifying new things to make.
"Companies such as Cleveland Vibrator Co. are finding new customers for their products. The tiny turbine vibrators driven by compressed air made for industrial uses are now being used in the biomedical industry, including makers of dental products and pharmaceuticals.
"One of many auto suppliers has also found business in medical manufacturing. Abbott Workholding Products Inc., Manhattan, Kan., whose industrial tools are used by the auto industry, now makes tools used to craft artificial knees and bone reinforcements.
"Other companies are finding success in yet other arenas. Take Detroit-area based Visioneering, which at one time built Corvette body molds for GM. Now it provides design, engineering, machining as well as manufacturing services to the $204 billion American aerospace and wind energy industries.
"The Bruce Diamond Corp. makes industrial diamond tools in the heart of New England. They've recently expanded their product line to include superabrasive tooling used in various manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive, bearing, semiconductor, engraving, electronics and fiber optics.
"These manufacturers, along with thousands of others, are succeeding through innovation, diversification and technological advances. That's the real story of American manufacturing. It may be evolving, but by getting back to making things, manufacturing can be the miracle that will boost the economy."