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Good tidings in December 2010 spills over into 2011!

With the holidays behind us, a new year ahead of us, and plenty of work to be done – we could use a little boost to our spirits!

For some of us, a new year means new opportunities and another shot at keeping our resolutions and achieving our goals. For those of us moping around because the holidays are behind us, we could certainly use some good news. The last few blogs (in between cookie recipes and winter getaway suggestions) I have been signing off on an optimistic note about the state of manufacturing in 2011. It’s time to take a closer peek at these predictions and see why the manufacturing industry still has good tidings to look forward too in 2011 long after we have put away the holiday lights and decorations.

Three different reports caught my eye when writing this blog post: The S&P 500 Index on the overall health of the economy (with a focus on construction), the rise in industrial production, and the ISM semi-annual forecast on the manufacturing sector.

The Washington Post stated that the S&P 500 rose 13 percent in 2010 ending with a strong December and causing a spill-over effect into January 2011 according to data compiled by Bloomberg and S&P. This upturn also saw a boost in construction spending in the U.S. as funding for homebuilding and Federal government projects saw a simultaneous increase. The consecutive increase in construction spending for three straight months exceeded the expectations of economists (surveyed by Bloomberg News) by 0.3% (from 0.4% – 0.7%) providing more business to the manufacturing sector.

A recent article in Yahoo noted that industrial production in December 2010 was at its highest in five straight months providing the economy much-needed momentum. As the economy picks up pace, companies are placing more orders to replenish inventories that had been eliminated during the recession.  According to the article, this has pumped up industrial production and created more jobs in the manufacturing sector. In December 2010 alone, employment in manufacturing grew by 10,000.

And as always, we look to ISM (Institute for Supply Management) semi-annual forecast for reliable data that can shed more light on the manufacturing sector and its prospects for 2011. The MHIA website provided us some great ISM semi-annual projections for the year – including the prediction that the manufacturing revenue is slated to grow by 5.6% in 2011. That’s a pretty optimistic outlook compared to the previous two years. Let’s hope the estimates match the actual data.

Out of the 16 manufacturing industries expected to show great improvements in 2011, Fabricated Metal Products is one of them. More good news for Bluff Manufacturing and its partners! Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, expects to see improvements in investments and employment in 2011. According to him, 2010 was all about recovery and 2011 will be about growth. And judging by the manufacturing growth in the last consecutive 16 months, it seems he may very well be right! On that cheerful note, Bluff Manufacturing wishes you a productive week. We do hope these optimistic predictions for the industry will motivate you to reach, and hopefully, exceed your expectations starting with the first quarter of 2011!