“U.S. factories humming”?:Bad Journalism at the Associated Press

In today’s report on the fall in durable goods orders, Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press wrote: (my emphasis added)

Strong demand domestically and overseas has kept U.S. factories humming, making manufacturing one of the strongest sectors of the economy since the recession ended in June 2009.

“Humming”? There is no sense in which U.S. factories are “humming”, unless you consider being buried underground the same as being aboveground. Industrial production of manufacturing, ex high-tech, is still 12% below its 2007 level.  (see chart below). Total manufacturing is about 9% below its 2007 level.

And last time I looked, manufacturing employment was still down 2 million jobs.

Argue if you want that manufacturing is not essential–I don’t agree, but at least it’s a position. But don’t engage in Orwellian double-speak by saying that U.S. factories are ‘humming’.

Comments

  1. Perhaps you will at some point argue why you think manufacturing is essential? Do you think agriculture is essential too? Well, it’s now down to 1% of US GDP, falling by more than half in the last 3 decades, all while we produce more with less land than ever before. That’s exactly what is in store for manufacturing, if we can just get reactionaries like you away from subsidizing it.

    • Mike Mandel says:

      If manufacturing was running a trade surplus like agriculture, I wouldn’t be worried.

      • CompEng says:

        Yes, essentially this. The answer isn’t to subsidize manufacturing, but it might be an impetus to rethink how to get out of the way: the taxes and regulation angle that’s been pushed on this blog a few times, for instance.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Mandel is hard on the press, and implicitly me, for suggesting that manufacturing is doing well. “Humming”? There is no […]

  2. […] Mike Mandel has been pointing out for sometime that the supposed recovery in manufacturing is only one if measured from the nadir it achieved during the Great Recession. His most recent post on the subject includes this graph: […]

  3. […] Mike Mandel has been pointing out for sometime that the supposed recovery in manufacturing is only one if measured from the nadir it achieved during the Great Recession. His most recent post on the subject includes this graph: […]

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