From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (11/18/2011)

Right off the bat, here’s yet another story that continues to confuse U.S.  job growth with a comeback in manufacturing.  This one from Tennessee.  Nice story nevertheless.

Speaking of “yet another,” here’s yet another story which shows how interconnected all the world’s economies now are.  This one from Market Watch is titled, “Road to  U.S. Recovery Goes Through Rome.”

Here’s an advertisement for both Toyota and lean manufacturing, passing itself off as a newspaper story in the Lexington (KY) Herald Leader.  Again, for all its flaws and bias, not to mention its advertorial bent, it’s still a nice story of how one company continues to have a positive impact.

Given that China exports 90% of all the solar panels it manufactures, and given the fact that the U.S. is taking dead aim on the Chinese solar power industry, it stands to reason that a Chinese official this week would speak out about foreign “protectionism” in the solar power industry.  And get his comments reported in China’s People’s Daily, no less.  Boy, talk about the pot calling the kettle black, huh?

From the We’re-All-Interconnected Dept:  You’d think that the slowdown in housing starts would be criplling the U.S. lumber industry, particularly in the Great Northwest.  Not a chance.  Spurred by a housing boom in China, loggers in Washington State are as busy as they’ve ever been.

An India-based economist asks some probling questions about the future of manufacturing in his home country.  Not only are the questions legitimate food for thought, but reading the story one starts to appreciate just how intense the competition for manufacturing — and, especially, manufacturing jobs — really is worldwide.

The Financial Times reports that the oil shale boom has also been a boom to the U.S. job market.

Business Insideris reporting that the company that is seemingly everywhere, Google, is thinking about manufacturing driverless cars in the U.S.

For many, the guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.  This week a Forbes contributing blogger took President Obama to task for doing what many conservative Republicans have been calling for him to do since he got into office, namely demanding that China stop artifically holding down the value of its yuan relative to the dollar

I mean I understand how the Internet has given every yahoo with a laptop a bully pulpit — heck, look at me.  But how Forbes can justify ripping the President for specifically doing something it has been demanding that he do for years is beside me.

More from the Good News Dept.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. industrial output increased even more in October than projected.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, while remaining upbeat, offers a slightly more sober take on the same good news.

In Industry Week, the CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance continued to plead to lawmakers for relief for our little corner of the economy, while reminding them that the U.S. is among the most expensive places on the planet to manufacture things..

According to the Empire State manufacturing index, buoyed by retail and sales and U.S. manufacturing, the price of crude oil futures inched upward this past month.

In Oregon Daily, the president of SolarWorld Industries claim that the Chinese are not only not playing fair, they’re costing many hard-working men and women in the solar industry their jobs.

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