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Manufacturing Recovery? Who says?…

October 4, 2012 at 8:30 am PST

…well, it looks like several folks are saying it!

American Factories were going all out in September -- is it a sign that the US economy is picking up?  Wall street certainly seemed to respond well to some key indicators at the beginning of October.

Take a look at some of the performance metrics below and you’ll get an indication of why…

  • The ISM (Institute for Supply Management) Index (PMI™)  rose to 51.5 for September from 49.6 in August. Anything above 50 shows growth (growing rather than contracting), and a nearly two point rise reverses previous months declines, the fastest pace since May.
  • Pace is slow, but signs are hopeful. The new orders index rose from 47.1 to 52.3 suggesting humming production this month, and suggests November will be good too.

However…

  • The economy isn’t growing as fast as the Fed Chairman would like. Hence an open-ended QE3 (Quantitive Easing 3) and a statement that interest rates will remain low until 2015.
  • JP Morgan Economists are saying that we’ve seen a slow down in US Manufacturing and it’s tracking more like the overall US economic growth -- sluggish, suggesting the best may be behind us. Still growing though, but slowly.

Overall I’m a bull on US manufacturing. There are a number of US companies looking to bring back jobs from overseas. But the labor shortage in the US is getting worse. Baby Boomers retiring, not enough skilled or trained workers to take their place. A recent Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute study stated that manufacturing sector can’t find workers with the right skills to fill around 600,000 jobs. Hopefully Cisco’s Remote Expert and Cisco’s other solutions will help. Check out Ron Kafka’s blog titled “Realize Business-Wide Benefits with Cisco’s Remote Expert” to find more about Remote Expert. Read More »

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UK and US Manufacturing – the same or different?

May 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm PST

Since I was brought up in England and worked for three American Hi-Tech Companies in the UK, I was intrigued by the latest report to come out of the Centre for Industry and Government at the University of Cambridge titled Public perceptions of manufacturing and efforts to rebalance the UK economy“.

In fact I’m grateful to the folks at Automation World for bringing it to my attention. Automation World is a good source of industry insight (readers might remember the article I contributed about the use of Social Media in Manufacturing, which I blogged about in January of this year:  How Social Media Improves Collaboration – Automation World, November 2011, and how they awarded Cisco ‘First Team Honors’ which you can read more about in the blog: Automation World First Team Honors Won by Cisco Systems for Leadership in Networking.

So, back to the point of this blog. The folks at the Cambridge Centre, lead by Dr. Finbarr Livesey, Director, Centre for Industry and Government IfM, University of Cambridge, come up with some interesting perceptions concerning the UK. Nearly 1,500 respondents suggests that manufacturing has become more High Tech and they believe that there is a strong requirement for more highly skilled workers.

There’s the rub. Read More »

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