From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (12/2/2011)

Kansas City Star columnist E. Thomas McClanahan rues the uncertainty hanging over the U.S. economy, despite what one economist just returning from Fabtech in Chicago told him.

The Associated Press reports on something we’ve been warning about in this space for months: growing unrest in China by the country’s many disgruntled workers.

Blogger Prieur du Plessis offers supporting evidence that U.S. manufacturing is currently saving the global PMI.

Speaking of China, Bloomberg’s Business Week reports that non-manufacturing in that country contracted for the first time last month since February.

Meanwhile, on the topic of both China and PMI, the China Post reports that the world’s fastest growing economy suffered another significant setback recently, declining an eye-popping eight points in November.

E&E Publishing reports that a federal commission has determined something that should come as a surprise to no one who’s actually been paying attention: that government-supported Chinese solar power manufacturers are hurting U.S. companies competing in that same field.

Here’s a story which probably doesn’t matter as much financially or economically as it does culturally: certain Chinese manufacturers are noting a tremendous growth in the demand for Christmas ornaments — from China itself.  Apparently a growing number of China’s middle class have grown up with the holiday and have adopted many of its traditions as their own.

Meanwhile, the Business Times calls Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s recent anti-China comments, “dangerous.”

Not to go overboard on the whole China thing this week, but here’s why we have to concern ourselves with the continued strength of the Chinese economy.  The Patiot-Ledger in Western Massachusetts reports on how a number of companies in that state are expanding their businesses by selling in China.

Elsewhere on the home front, the Business Review reports that U.S. manufacturing rose again in November.  They also report that the better-than-expected U.S. performance in November, spurred a significant stock rally in Japan.

On the campus of the Cambridge-based MIT, that school will host a White House conference on manufacturing.

One blogger, writing in Investing Answers, is concerned about the growing U.S. trade defecit but feels that a weakening dollar might be just what the doctor ordered in that regard.

The National Review Online reports on some of the interesting and sometimes offbeat things academic Vaclav Smil had to say in a recent article on U.S. manufacturing.

Finally, you’ve gotta love just what a big tent this country continues to be.  GrowOp Technology, a firm calling itself “the nation’s first medical marijuana-friendly hydroponics manufacturing company,” released a device this week it has nicknamed “the iPad of Pot.”

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