From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (1/20/2012)

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum found himself this week having to defend his proposed tax plan to some conservatives — a plan which would include the candidate’s much publicized idea of zero taxes on all U.S. manufacturers — who are labeling Santorum’s notion of tripling the deductions for parents of dependant children “social engineering.”

Bloomberg’s Business Week reports that December’s numbers indicate that not only is the U.S. economy recovering, but that “manufacturing remains at the center of the recovery.”

Bloomberg also opines that December’s price index supports the notion that inflation will remain in check at least for the foreseeable future.

The Springfield (MO) News-Leader says a former governor of the Show Me State is now making a nice living for himself as the chief lobbyist for Detroit’s Big Three auto manufacturers, who themselves are staging something of a remarkable comeback.

Farm Weekly reports that China’s new-found emphasis on domestic agriculture, along with something the publication calls a “lazy” $160 billion investment in the Chinese farming industry, could mean a boom to farm implement and machinery manufacturers, epecially those in the U.S.

The National, an English-language daily in the Mideast, says that China is planning on putting considerable resources in its attempt to market cheap green energy globally.

Last week we reported that Microsoft was facing the threat of massive worker suicide in a labor dispute in one of its manufacturing plants in China.  This week, according to the Financial Times, it was Foxconn Technology, a global manufacturer of cell phones and other devices, which had some 150 workers climb onto the roof of one of its plants in China and threaten to jump unless they were given a wage increase.

If you don’t click to one other link on this post, do yourself a favor and click onto this one.  In Tennessee, the tiny Cookeville Times reports on “the new age of manufacturing in the highlands,” a story which is basically a microcosm of just about everything we’ve been saying in this space for over a year.

On a more somber note (and again supporting something we’ve contended in this space for some time), Reuters says that recent numbers in China — an economy this country’s manufacturers desperately need to continue to grow and spend in a big way — could just be the harbinger of an economic slowdown the world over.

That said, Delaware Online reports this week that CEO’s in this country are anticipating breaking what they’re calling a “hiring logjam” with the biggest boom in hiring since 2006, as according to the publication, thousands of good-paying jobs will be created and filled by U.S. companies this year.

With the thinking that many U.S air carriers will need to replenish their supply of aging short- to medium-haul aircraft over the next few years, Airbus, the European-based aerospace manufacturer, is thinking of ramping up its profile throughout the U.S.

Why is the 17-week high in copper futures good news?  It was triggered by two things in particular; December’s numbers which offered further proof of a U.S. economic recovery, and the highest homebuilder confidence in four years.

Speaking of that whole economic recovery thing, the Telegraph in the U.K. weighed in as well.   Meanwhile, NASDAQ offered up a menu of good news items from December.

You gotta love this story.  Granted it’s not the days of Motorola, GE and RCA of the 1950’s and 60’s, but there is now living proof that even television manufacturing is returning to the U.S.

Blogger Mark J. Perry lists the Top Ten U.S. manufacturing industries.

This week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it is seeking to raise its lending capacity (and one might expect, get money flowing more freely) by some $500 billion.  The hope is this will help quell some fears over the European debt crisis.

Mike Collins, the author of Saving American Manufacturing, dons a trench coat and fedora and details on how China is using cyber-spying and other clandestine techniques to steal our secrets.

And speaking of China, Plastics News reports that at one international trade show many Chinese toy manufacturers are feeling the pinch.

 One last China note: the Motley Fool offers some insight as to why China’s manufacturing growth is stalling, while the U.S. continues to make a comeback.

And finally, I blogged about this earlier this week, but for all the recovery that the U.S. has made with respect to manufacturing, the sobering truth is a frightening amount of the best paying manufacturing jobs in America — those in the high-tech sector, along with many coveted high-paying R&D jobs — are moving overseas, particularly to two of the most math- and science-centric counties in the world, India and China.

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