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The Imperceptible Comeback of American Manufacturing March 10, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.

I swear, the press works so hard for this president. I mean, they’ll take any tiny piece of maybe-good-news and turn it into a Positive Trend with Long-Term Implications Here we have Heesun Wee of CNBC telling us of the resurgence in Buy American and American manufacturing:

‘Made in the USA’ Making a Comeback

A curious thing is happening among American shoppers. More people are taking a moment to flip over an item or fish for a label and ask, is it “Made in the USA?”

So you read through the article looking for the exciting stats on increased sales of domestic goods, and you find . . . nothing. How, then, does Heesun support his claim? Well he has 3 examples:

  1. A website (USA Love List) started by a blogger has increased traffic since it started in Nov. 2011. (How much? They don’t say.)
  2. An American company (Architec Housewares) has been talking to retailers about their ‘Made in America’ product line. No sales stats – they’ve apparently just been talking. And the size of this company that’s such a noteworthy green shoot? Nine employees. Yes, nine.
  3. An American toy company is doing well in exporting to other countries. That company’s size? Well, it dwarfs little Architec Housewares: Green Toys boasts a staff of 13!!

He also mentions Walmart’s pledge to buy $50 billion more domestic products over the next 10 years, and GE’s plan to invest $1 billion to “revitalize its appliance business.” Neither of these has anything to do with consumer sentiment – in fact, only the website with the mystery hits expresses consumer sentiment.

So is it real? I mean, sure the guy wrote a fanciful and poorly-sourced article, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. To check, I like to look at a little thing called imports, which tells us how much foreign stuff we buy. In January of 2012 we bought $43.1 billion of consumer goods from abroad. In January 2013, the “Made in the USA” comeback has reduced that to a mere $44.4 billion.

Oh wait, that’s an increase, isn’t it.

I’d like to believe in a resurgence of American manufacturing, I really would. I prefer an economy with a strong manufacturing base. But I’m just not seeing these bright rays of hope that people like Heesun are bathing in.


1. digitalbrownshirt - March 10, 2013

I’m sure my company isn’t the norm, but we’re actually in an expansion now. A couple of years ago we had aroun $100m in sales, this last year we had over $200m in sales. The overall plan is for more than twice that inside of 3 years. I believe the main reason we can expand now while many of our competitors are going under is one of our company touchstones is that we don’t borrow money. All expansions are paid in cash from property purchases to CNC machines.

2. geoff - March 10, 2013

You know the rules. Once you grow from a tiny enterprise to a large, successful enterprise, you go from plucky little green shoot to eeevil capitalist oppressor who didn’t earn their success.

3. digitalbrownshirt - March 11, 2013

We were born evil. Our main customers are the oil and gas industry. 🙂

4. jam2 - March 12, 2013

our company serves the evil Big Pharma industry (yep the ones killing old ppl, wimmens and chillrens since before Jenjis Con sensationalized such things) and we keep shrinking…

5. Tushar - March 13, 2013

Jam2, does your company make the hacksaws that are used to cut away and steal the patient’s legs, or the carts used to haul away the stolen tonsils?

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