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American Manufacturing Is Alive and Well

Wall Street Journal (11/30/14) Justin Lahart

Although the percentage of private-sector workers employed by manufacturers has fallen from 25% in 1980 to 10% today, there are many other workers, including truck drivers and forklift operators, who are not employed in manufacturing but depend on it. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity increased from 56.6 in September to 59 in October, which is a level not usually reached by the index.

While it would not be surprising to see the November figures decrease, experts say they may not decline by much, with the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia, for instance, indicating that manufacturing activity has been picking up steam. This may indicate that the economy has entered a healthier stage, with hiring gains helping to boost consumer spending, which helps increase production and leads to more hiring.