I dropped in to the Jim Miller On Politics blog and noticed his brief comments on this NYT Letter to the editor, Industry, Not In Decline, submitted by David Huether who is the chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.
In his brief letter Mr. Huether states that
...United States manufacturers last year set records for both production and exports...
So I went poking around the NAM site and found this little table and chart of Total Manufacturing Production (presumably US totals) which seems to indicated quite healthy levels of US manufacturing growth in the period 9/03 through 9/05.
So I did a quick google scan to see if there were many reports about a two year period of growth in US manufacturing. Nothing I could easily detect other than some articles about productivity growth in US manufacturing. Is the focus on productivity growth more important or is it simply a way for the DeMSM to position manufacturing growth as "jobless"?
Was anyone aware that between 2000 and 2003 US exports of steel rose from 5.5 million tons to 8 million tons (+~2/3)? It did, or at least so reported SFGate in May of 2004 (the most recent news report of growth in US exports of steel).
Did you know that the US is the world's third largest producer of cement (behind China and India) yet typically imports cement and rarely exports more than 1% or national production? Cement exports are, however, growing. (Well, the "hydraulic" variety anyway - pretty sure that means cement that isn't yet concrete and needs water added which is, to the best of my limited knowledge, pretty much all cement.) The US is apparently feeling the pinch in cement supply due to the building boom in China. Is there some reason US cement producers don't seem to be ramping up exports?
Well, anyway, in this climate of all disasters all the time we rarely hear about little matters like growing (record setting) manufacturing, large rises in steel exports, or the world's third largest cement industry that seems uninterested in exporting to meet global demand.
Update: Here's a somewhat related article in the Economist, From accelerator to brake, that suggests that China has become such a huge consumer and producer of commodoties that her economic hiccups have large ramifications.