Today's news brings more signs of economic recovery–buoyed by growth in manufacturing and factory production, an increase in U.S. auto sales, and gains in the steel industry:
Wall Street Journal, Manufacturing Shows Broad Signs of Growth:
Manufacturing activity grew stronger in April, pointing to sustained growth in the sector, as both business and consumer spending rebounded.
…The overall index for manufacturing activity climbed to 60.4 in April, up from 59.6 in March, and reflected underlying increases in production, new orders and employment. Any index reading above 50 shows manufacturing is expanding.
…The employment index was another highlight in the manufacturing report, rising 3.4 points to 58.5…
…General Electric Co. announced Monday it has added 220 manufacturing jobs in Michigan to work in aviation producing jet engines.
Associated Press, March factory orders up surprising 1.3 percent:
Orders to U.S. factories rose a surprising 1.3 percent in March with widespread gains in many industries…
…factory orders were up by the largest amount in more than nine years. The increase offers further evidence that U.S. manufacturers are a consistent source of strength driving the recovery.
At the moment, manufacturing is the leading star of the economic rebound and economists are predicting that will continue for the rest of the year, helping to offset weakness in other areas. Manufacturers are benefiting not only from the rebound in the United States but also rising demand for U.S. exports as the global economy recovers at a faster rate than had been expected.
Wall Street Journal, Recovery Fires Up for Steel Industry:
Amid firming signs of recovery in the U.S., some steelmakers are expanding operations and re-hiring in hopes of getting an early jump on burgeoning demand in the energy, appliance and automotive markets.
…Overall, U.S. steel mills are operating currently at between 70% and 75% of capacity, two-thirds busier than at the start of 2008 when operating rates were hovering between 40% and 45%. At their higher utilization rates, most steelmakers should return to profit this quarter.
Wall Street Journal, Car Sales Climbed 20% in April:
Boosted by a rebounding economy, U.S. auto sales jumped 20% in April as several car makers, including hard-hit Chrysler Group LLC, posted sizable gains.
Auto makers sold 982,131 vehicles last month, according to Autodata Corp., up from the depressed level of 819,540 in April a year ago, when the U.S. was sliding deeper into recession and General Motors Co. and Chrysler were heading toward bankruptcy filings.
Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. all reported increases of about 25%.
…Ford is forecasting that 2010 sales industrywide will rise to 11.5 million to 12.5 million vehicles, up considerably from last year’s 10.4 million.
Congressional Republicans are denying or downplaying any signs of economic recovery–working hard to keep our small businesses and consumers from feeling any confidence in the American economy–but they can’t ignore these facts:
Congressional Republicans have voted against every major piece of economic legislation–from the Recovery Act to Wall Street reform–choosing the special interests over American workers, their families and small businesses. Where would the economy be now if they had prevailed? Or if they were in charge again?