Over the last 20 years, the growing global economy has allowed manufacturers to enter new markets to serve an increasingly global customer base while also shortening supply chains and reducing cost structures.
As the U.S. trade deficit in manufactures rose in the third quarter while the Chinese surplus remained flat, it incurred an estimated trade-related loss of 150,000 American jobs, and heading toward more than 600,000 for the calendar year.
The overall outlook for the U.S. economy, with particular emphasis on the manufacturing sector, for the remainder of 2015 and 2016 highlighting manufacturing’s growth and challenges for a five-year horizon.
Manufacturing production grew 1.8% in 2015. We predict manufacturing production will increase 2.6% in 2016, 3.0% in 2017, and 2.8% in 2018. At that point, any output gap from the 2008-2009 recession will have closed and manufacturing growth will slow down to potential. The forecast is for growth of 2.6% in 2019 and 2.0% in 2020.
U.S. manufacturers have faced numerous challenges in 2015, including a stronger dollar, heightened uncertainty about slowing economic growth in China and the dramatic fall in the prices of oil and natural gas which has proven to be a two-edged sword.
With slowing growth in China and the implosion of stock prices there, the dramatic fall in the price of oil, and recent volatility in U.S. equity markets, January is coming in like a lion. Repeating the pattern observed in recent years, the first quarter will be challenging for U.S.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Economic Environment, Labor, Operations, Continuous Improvement, Productivity
Productivity growth in the computer and electronic products subsector, once the principal driver of productivity performance in the manufacturing sector, has experienced significant waning in recent years. Consequently, the U.S. manufacturing productivity outlook has become murky. This is a challenging trend for our society, because increased productivity growth helps lift living standards. The good news is that empirical evidence put forth in this paper shows that innovation and capital investment play a key role in accelerating multifactor productivity growth (i.e., output per unit of a combined set of inputs including labor, materials, and capital) in a wide range of manufacturing industries.
We lower the forecast for this year and next because of the persistent shocks to manufacturing demand and we now see more downside than upside risks. Manufacturing production will decelerate rather than accelerate this year. Production increased 2% last year and we forecast growth of only 1.1% in 2016, 2.4% in 2017, and 2.5% in 2018.
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