From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (6/15/2012)

USA Today says the spate of recent product recalls may be numbing American consumers.

Reuters says that for all the sense of recovery on these shores, the economic downturn worldwide continues to put a crimp on the sales revenue of many U.S. manufacturers.

And here’s a report that says that while manufacturing in this country saw a slight decline in April, it remains on a 10% growth rate compared to a year ago.

On the down side, a small manufacturer of gasoline containers in Oklahoma — the only remaining one in the U.S. — will be shuttering its operation soon, displacing 117 workers.

And in keeping with the bad news thing, apparently U.S. wholesale prices fell in May as much as they had at any point in the past three years.

On the bright side, the New York Times reports as once booming pottery manufacturing corridor in Ohio has had a stroke of good fortune and a mini-revival.

A consortium of Chinese and Japanese businessmen are buying Swedish automaker Saab with the intent of converting it into an electric car manufacturer.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Quirky, a social media site that allows users to design their own home products, has announced it will manufacture its very first user-designed product.

Speaking of Quirky, here’s a blog post from the site which details why “made here” is better than you think.

Bloomberg speculates that the reason things leveled off this past month in the U.S. retail-wise was a decline in auto sales.

Here’s a great story about how one Northern Kentucky manufacturer’s order book is “exploding,” thanks to the remarkable upswing in U.S. manufacturing.

The Avnet Drive for Innovation was a project in which Brian Fuller, the editorial director of EE Times, drove some 28K miles in a Chevy Volt over the course of one full year to determine the relative health and vitality of high tech manufacturing in America.  His findings?  Just what you’d expect.  There’s a whole lot of manufacturin’ going on.

The reasons could be plentiful and varied, but Chinese solar panel imports dropped sharply in April.

An economist writing in the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer-Press says the U.S. needs to steer its young people toward higher earning potential by steering them toward better manufacturing jobs.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked trade with India this week.

Apparently not only are there more members of China’s middle class, and not only are they making and spending more than ever, but as consumers they’re also demanding value for their money.

Author Michael Collins details the issues, including a number of hurdles, we face in trying to convince kids of Manufacturing as a Career.

Of all people, Starbucks has announced it is serving up some manufacturing  jobs in the U.S.

The Atlantic Monthly offers a blog post on the New Reinvigoration of American Manufacturing.

The Atlantic also details the paradigm behind China’s new manufacturing boom.

And finally, this one shows how far we’ve got to go in communicating to both the average American and the consumer media just how strong things are these days in our sector.  A letter to the editor this week about a plant closing in Maryland ran in the Baltimore Sun under the following headline: “Sparrows Point plant closing shows decline of U.S. manufacturing.” 


It’s one thing for a newspaper to be negative, or even overly dramatic.  It’s another altogether to be wrong.





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