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Manufacturing Industry Reports Show Slow but Positive Growth


Month by month, the manufacturing industry analyzes various reports, each looking for the same consensus, that the industry is showing positive signs of growth. Depending on who is doing the reporting, each provides similar facts with the writer’s own positive or negative take on the subject.

Mixed Signals

The most recent reports show that the non-manufacturing index for July was 55.5. This number was down slightly from 56.5 in June. For those seeing the manufacturing industry’s glass as half full, this invoked positive headlines with the message that any index measurement above 50 is signaling growth. Others on the opposite “side” saw the July dip as further proof that the industry is not regaining its footing as quickly as desired. Despite differing points of view, Investopedia reported that manufacturing purchasing managers remain optimistic about the industry’s outlook.

Measure of Agreement

One thing all of the articles agree on is the source of growth in the economy remains in the service sector. Since the Great Recession of Dec. 2007 to June 2009, service continues to buoy the U.S. economy with 78 straight months of growth. The service industry is also the focus of new job creation with 94 percent of the 12.0 million jobs created since June 2009, according to a report by CNBC.

A Redefining Moment

The continued growth of the services sector clearly demonstrates an industry on the right track. With this in mind, it could be advantageous to consider what it is about the services industry that invites, even encourages growth. Far more than just providing a salable form of a personal service rather than a material commodity, the industry continues to expand how it defines itself with services also including experiential, physical, economic and intellectual activities.

Considering this wider-reaching definition, could it also be argued that although the manufacturing industry is by definition providing material commodities, is it also providing a service? This is particularly true of small- and medium-sized manufacturers that work closely with the customer base to provide the best solution. This level of customization is the very height of providing a service and can serve as a way for the manufacturing industry to embrace its own level of growth.

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