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NAM: Manufacturing Strong Despite Fed Report

Despite strikes in the auto industry and the downturn in housing, the National Association of Manufacturers' chief economist says the sector has seen some healthy gains.

WASHINGTON — According to the chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a Federal Reserve report that indicated manufacturing production was unchanged in September is not an accurate picture of what is happening in the industry.
“While overall manufacturing activity was flat last month, there’s an awful lot of activity under the surface,” said David Huether. “The ongoing downturn in housing continues to impact some segments of manufacturing, evidenced by the fact that wood products, nonmetallic minerals, furniture and textile product production all fell last month. Also, the disruptive strikes in the auto industry were a major cause of the 3.3 percent drop in motor vehicle production last month.
“But outside of motor vehicles, manufacturing production rose a solid 0.3 percent in September, with solid gains taking place in primary and fabricated metals, computers and electronics, electrical equipment, aerospace, medical equipment and chemicals,” he said.
Huether added that manufacturing production rose at a 4.3 annual rate in the third quarter — good news for the sector and for the economy.
“The fact that business equipment production rose at an annual rate of 7 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in a year, signals that business investment and capital goods exports are continuing to propel the economy forward,” he said.
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