U.S. manufacturing could be boosted by weaker dollar

July 31, 2012

The history of U.S. manufacturing is vibrant and storied, as images of depression-era workers and World War II machines being built are often conjured up when people talk about the industry. The sector has long been the workhorse of the American economy, and this has been especially true in the years following the 2008 recession.

According to Seeking Alpha, the sector has kept the U.S. economy afloat since the economic collapse, remaining an engine of innovation, science and research & development. It also employs more than 11.8 million Americans and contributed 12.8 percent of the country's GDP as of 2010.

U.S. manufacturing is also poised for a significant rise in the coming years, according to the news outlet, as an end to outsourcing, a declining value for the American dollar and improved domestic demand could support significant growth in the near future.

Not only is U.S. manufacturing set to increase in the coming years, but the sector is also already a significant presence in the world. Due to an increased value of goods and lower operating costs, U.S. manufacturing would, by itself, be the 8th largest economy in the world, valued at roughly $1.6 trillion.

A "weak dollar policy" from the U.S. Federal Reserve could help to increase the power of U.S. manufacturing, as companies would benefit from a significant rise in exports. According to Seeking Alpha, if the greenback were to lose some of its value, the main beneficiary would be the domestic manufacturing industry.

Many American companies have already transitioned to lean manufacturing and cost-cutting systems, so the drop in the value of the dollar would help to support the already-efficient industry.

One major problem that the sector had, and one of the only impediments to growth, was a lack of skilled laborers. However, due to the prominence of U.S. manufacturing and high unemployment rates, this is likely to change.

CNNMoney reported that trade schools across the country are bursting at the seams due to the rising demand for skilled factory workers and the large number of people who are looking to fill this void.

According to the news outlet, schools are struggle to accommodate the growing number of interested students, but are making adjustments to support this rise in interest.

"That's the highest level of enrollees we've had in 15 years," said E.J. Daigle, director of robotics and manufacturing for Dunwoody College of Technology.