Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good times are rolling in the US

I'm sitting here feeling smug. The business headlines say it better than me: "Industry Picks Up the Pace", "Manufacturing Report Shows Continued Growth", "Dow Headed for Highest Close Since '07 on Manufacturing." All three, and many more references to what is happening in the United States, seem to be confounding the economic experts and stock market analysts. The April numbers from the Institute for Supply Management hit 54.8% in April, the 33rd consecutive month of growth and fastest pace since June of last year.

Sorry folks -- except for those who have been following my ramblings on the health of the US manufacturing sector -- but here's a quote from that WSJ article I just can't help chuckling over: "The report surprised many economists who had forecast a slower manufacturing growth in the face of downturn overseas." Surprised? Come on, people! Come down from your ivory towers on Wall Street and out of your dusty university offices, and get out in the field and talk to the companies that are driving the renaissance in US manufacturing. Maybe they should have read the optimistic news items that have been appearing since the year started. It may be short-lived, but revel in the good news.

In my presentation on the US market for industrial lasers, to be given at the International Technology Congress (AKL) in Aachen next week, I will have to rein in my enthusiasm about the US situation in deference to the gray, and even black, picture for manufacturing in Europe. We here in the US have been there also in the recent past and we know what you are experiencing. For you, it's austerity to avoid recession; for us it was financial market finagling. But the result was the same: pain in the manufacturing sector.

So hang in there -- best-case, you'll either recover soon, or the US will get dragged down by your problems and join you. Let's hope not, or those pesky doomsday analysts might finally get it right.

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