Once considered one of America’s mightiest engines for growth, manufacturing has been severely weakened in the last few years by lack of growth, the moving of operations to cheaper overseas facilities, and the economic crisis that left many Americans with reduced spending power. More recent trends, however, suggest that construction of American factories is on the increase across the country, signaling further steps in the recovery of the manufacturing industry.
Spending on non-residential construction, particularly factories, increased by nearly 13 percent in the second quarter of 2014, according to USA Today. The U.S. Department of Commerce noted that the 12.6 percent increase contributed to a 4.6 percent annual growth of the economy, the strongest growth in the last 2.5 years.
The increase in spending on factories and manufacturing facilities so far in 2014 comes as a sharp contrast to 2013, during which similar spending remained flat with few increases.
The steady declines in U.S. manufacturing that have occurred since increased offshoring of factory functions began in 1998 is expected to stabilize and reverse slightly over the next few years.
Factory output increases offer further evidence of a boost in the manufacturing sector. In August 2014, factories were operating at somewhat over 77 percent of capacity, compared to the nearly 64 percent capacity in 2009. Manufacturing is nearing a return to pre-recession levels, and manufacturers are increasing output and creating new products in response to improvements in the United States economy.
Increases in manufacturing employment are expected to result from the revival of factory construction. Manufacturing employment numbers have increased by 105,000 in the first two-thirds of 2014 alone, in comparison to increases of just 88,000 in all of 2014.
Construction industry employment numbers are also expected to increase as companies open new factories and renovate old ones.
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