Is a U.S. manufacturing renaissance on the horizon?


The plastics industry is doing relatively well in spite of economic concerns and weakness in some sectors supplied by plastics processors. That's the analysis given by Michael Taylor, Senior Director of Internal Affairs & Trade for the Society of the Plastics Industry, speaking at the 'Business of Plastics @ ANTEC' conference.

Taylor commented that according to the recent Beige Book statistics, "Expansion remains moderate and sequestration hasn't had much impact." Manufacturing is doing better than the economy as a whole, up about 3-4% for 2013 so far. "Not quite a boom but a significant increase. The housing market is strengthening with new home construction and gains in multi-family housing. This will continue to be a bright spot in the economic recovery," Taylor projected.

While U.S. industrial output rose in March, and offset some weaknesses in subsectors, overall factory production slipped slightly. Total industrial production and manufacturing rose 5% on an annualized basis. Taylor pointed to the National Association of Manufacturers and IndustryWeek survey that showed sales up 2.3%.

True manufacturing renaissance on hold
Taylor addressed the uncertainty in the federal budget process, commenting, "I don't think there is a budget process. That has become dysfunctional which is leading to a lot of uncertainty. The markets don't like it. And the European crisis doesn't seem to go away."

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