Econintersect (Updated May 5): According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), manufacturing is on the increase within the the U.S. The study concludes that the U.S. will surpass China in manufacturing production of goods sold in North America over the next four years. The U.S. lost the world lead in manufacturing that it had held for most of the twentieth century during the weak recovery from The Great Recession. According to data from IHS Global Insight, quoted by the Financial Times, China had 19.8% of world manufacturing output with the U.S. second at 19.4% in 2010.While the resurgence of U.S. maufacturing will be helpful to the U.S. economy, it is not likely that the U.S. will retake the world manufacturing lead from China. The growth of domestic markets in China as well as in the rest of populous Asia will create a burgeoning demand for Chinese goods.
From the Financial Times:
A key factor in the U.S. manufacturing resurgence comes from labor productivity, which is more than 3x that of China. With the wages in China growing at a much higher rate than in the U.S. the productivity advantage is drawing domestic production back home, especially for the “more sophisticated” producrs mentioned in the FT article.
Among the U.S. corporations mentioned by the FT which have announced plans for major investments in new U.S. manufacturing are Caterpillar, General Electric and Ford. In the first quarter of 2011 manufacturing production in the U.S. rose by 9.1% (annual rate), making it the fastest growing segment in the U.S. economy.
On May 5, as discussed at GEI Analysis by Steven Hansen, The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported an unexpected drop in labor productivity growth. Productivity is a key component of the projections for manufacturing reported in this news brief. If the U.S. can not maintain or expand its wide productivity advantage vs. China the the projections quoted are likely to be modified to the detriment of U.S. manufacturing.