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Manufacturing Recovering Faster Than Broader Economy

MAPI quarterly report predicts manufacturing industrial production to grow 6% in 2010 and 2011.

American manufacturing production grew at an annual rate of 7% between the months of February and April, according to a new report from the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI released Thursday, which noted that consumer spending is rising, as is inventories, an indication that businesses are growing more confident about a recovery.

That recovery appears to be building at a faster rate in manufacturing than across the broader economy

The data is based off MAPIs most recent industrial outlook, which is a quarterly report that analyzes 27 major industries and runs simulations through the IHS Global Insight Macroeconomic Model.

From February through April, manufacturing industrial production grew at 7%, after expanding at a 6% clip in the three months ending January 2010. The report predicts that trend to continue, increasing 6% overall in 2010 and 6% in 2011.

A recovery is clearly well under way, and the industrial rebound is stronger than that in the general economy, said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for MAPI and author of the analysis. Consumer spending has returned to moderate growth, and the exceptionally severe winter prompted strong gains in non-automotive durable goods like clothing and utilities.

An equally strong contributor was the swing in inventories, said Meckstroth

Since the beginning of the year, manufacturing has added about 100,000 jobs, he said. Production grows faster than sales when firms move to less liquidation and then to rebuild inventories.

One of the fastest areas of growth was in high-tech industrial production, which rose at a 28% annual rate in the most recent quarter and is estimated to see 18% growth in 2010 and 15% in 2011.

Production in non-high-tech manufacturing expanded at a 6% annual rate through April and should see 5% growth in both 2010 and in 2011.

Nineteen of the 27 industries tracked in the report showed substantial increases in new orders or production from a year ago. Iron and steel production grew by 101% in the three months ending in April, while oil and gas well drilling activity advanced by 100% in the same time period.

The largest drop, however, was seen in private nonresidential construction, which declined 22%, while engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment production experienced a 14% decline.

MAPIs report forecasts the manufacturing sector to show noticeable improvement in 2010, led by iron and steel production, which is anticipated to see 54% growth and industrial machinery with 42% growth.

The recovery should continue in 2011, with significant growth in housing and demand for engines, turbines and power transmission equipment rising at 28%.

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