From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (1/5/2011)

The Daily Beast reports that, while presidential candidate Rick Santorum may have his head in the clouds when it comes to certain social issues, there’s some real merit to one of the Pennsylvanian’s campaign proposals — no corporate taxes on U.S. manufacturers.

A Forbes contributor, meanwhile, warns about Santorum’s tax plan, but says in the same piece that the gobalization of salaries in just a few years will bode well for not only U.S. manufacturing but the re-shoring of American jobs.

Another blog, the Strategic Sourceror, writes about something that our little corner of the world has been saying for months; that this country’s economic turnaround is being fueled by manufacturing.

On a related front, Business Week reports that jobs grew at a greater rate in December than expected, and that unemployment in this country is now down to a very hopeful (and headed in the right direction) 8.5%

On another related front, the NAM daily blog, Shopfloor, cites the same U.S. Labor Department stats and tells us that manufacturing jobs nationwide jumped by 23K in December alone.

And Inc. Wire blogger Abram Brown claims U.S. manufacturing is as strong as its been since the late 90’s, a piece that is actually a riff on a great story by Floyd Norris in this week’s New York Times on the growing strength of that sector in this country.

Taking the contrary view, and throwing it right in the face of the other two authors (as well as anyone else lauding U.S. manufacturing’s comeback) is a blog called the Innovation Policy Blog, which says its not the amount of goods manufactured, but the country’s trade imbalance we still need to fear.

ThyssenKrupp, the German manufacturing giant, is apparently bullish on America and is bringing 60 new jobs its current Ohio plant, while investing nearly $60 million to upgrade the facility.

In CT, Gateway Community College and the City of New Haven have teamed up to create an innovative vocational/technical school.

With depleted stock facing many sellers in many industries, Bloomberg reports that inventory restocking alone might carry the U.S. manufacturing sector for the first quarter of 2012.

ABC News reports that the U.S. auto industry capped off a banner 2011 with a killer December, a trend that bodes well for the year ahead.

Clearly not impressed, commentator George Leopold of the engineering trade pub, the EE Times, says that what we’ve got going in this country is not nearly enough and what the U.S. needs is what he calls a “manufacturing renaissance.”

A blogger on the Nasdaq site says that a stellar ISM report containing some robust manufacturing data had the equity money on Wall Street all aflutter on the very first day of trading of the year.

Time reports this week on one of the most innovative and progressive hi-tech manufacturing centers in the world, Austin, TX.  Seriously, check this one out. 

Wouldn’t you think that Chinese-made medical devices would have to undergo the same certification standards of, say, medicine made in that country?  Nope.  According to the Guardian in the UK, Chinese-made medical devices operate under the same level of scrutiny as Chinese-made toys.

Speaking of China, apparently the surfing industry Down Under is up in arms about cheap Chinese imports and Australian manufacturers are trying to rally to combat the infusion of inexpensive and, according to some, pretty high quality Chinese-made boards.

One U.S. based trader studied China’s almost unprecedented growth over the last decade and asks, justifiably so, how long can it last?

Here’s a lawyer — and someone on the inside — blogging about how and why the Chinese make it so hard for foreigners to buy China-based and China-owned companies.

If you need a good laugh to start the New Year, let me direct you to the Satire Wire web site, and their lead story about China’s plan to manufacture cheaper American babies

Chew on that one, and we’ll see you next week.

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