The overall economy declined slightly in the fourth quarter of 2012, offsetting an above-average pace of growth in the previous quarter. Spending for inventories, government defense, and net exports all fell—reversing the growth in the third quarter—and offset the positive gains in consumer spending, nonresidential investment, and residential investment. MAPI believes that the fourth quarter decline in economic activity is not the beginning of another recession or a harbinger of one. On the contrary, the end-of-year weakness was a correction in production to temporary surges in the third quarter.
MAPI forecasts that manufacturing production will increase 2.2 percent in 2013 and 3.6 percent in 2014. High-tech production is forecast to increase 4.3 percent in 2013 and 9.0 percent in 2014. Non-high-tech or traditional manufacturing, which accounts for 90 percent of value-added in manufacturing, will grow 1.8 percent in 2013 and 3.8 percent in 2014.
- Manufacturing will grow at a faster speed than the general economy, but not by much
- The key growth themes are a housing rebound, strong growth in transportation equipment, and the expansion of medical care (meaning robust medical equipment demand)
- MAPI forecasts that manufacturing production will increase 2.2 percent in 2013 and 3.6 percent in 2014