U.S. manufacturing technology orders increased from 2011

June 12, 2012

The U.S. manufacturing resurgence has come about due to increased efficiency, a reshoring of operations by many companies and an adoption of a better business strategy. Though the renaissance has occurred in the whole industry, certain sectors have performed better than others.

According to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), there has been a significant year-on-year increase within the manufacturing technology sector, as orders have jumped due to increased demand and more efficient production models.

"Year-to-date orders of manufacturing technology are up a solid 10 percent over 2011," said AMT President Doug Woods. "Manufacturing firms continue to hire, with year-over-year unemployment down from nearly 10 percent in 2011 to a little under 7 percent this year."

In the first quarter of 2012, the technology exports from American companies rose across the board, partially caused by a 5 percent increase in factory productivity. The rise in output may continue for the next several months, but the question of sustainability will need to be addressed by manufacturing executives, according to the news outlet.

The adoption of lean manufacturing principles may be necessary for these firms to survive, as investment levels have dropped slightly and the euro zone financial crisis may provide a slight barrier for continued growth in the sector.

"What remains to be seen is whether overseas instability and possible cooling of domestic investment will disrupt continued growth," said Woods.

As the technology sector is looking for continued investment to support continued growth, some companies are bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. to cut costs and provide employment opportunities for Americans.

Reuters reported that Starbucks is now making mugs and other merchandise within the U.S., as it expressed interest in creating American factory jobs in order to offset the closure of some 600 cafes in the country during the 2008 financial crisis.

CNBC reported that the plant closing vs. plant opening gap is beginning to close completely, as by the end of 2012 this number may be equal. Given the losses posted over the past decade, this would represent a remarkable turnaround for the sector.

"We already know manufacturing construction is growing," Dan Meckstroth, vice president and chief economist of Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, told the news outlet. "I think it’s only a matter of time until we see more plants open than close."