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U.S. manufacturing posts robust growth
by Joe Cogliano, Senior Reporter
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

U.S. manufacturing started the year off with a bang.

January marked the 30th consecutive month the industry was in growth mode while the rate of growth also accelerated, according to a report on Wednesday from the Institute for Supply Management.

The PMI, an index used to measure the strength of the industry, jumped 1 percentage points to 54.1 percent last month. A reading above 50 percent indicates the manufacturing economy is generally in a period of expansion while a reading below 50 indicates a general contraction of the industry.

Observers say the growth trend mirrors what has been happening locally.

Many manufacturers in the Dayton area have gone from “cautiously optimistic” to “optimistic,” said Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, or DRMA.

Among those expanding local operations, Honda Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will invest nearly $100 million into its Shelby County plant to build the company’s next-generation powertrain technologies.

Caterpillar Inc. is investing in Dayton with its new distribution hub in Clayton, as is GE Aviation — a division of General Electric — is building a research and development center on the grounds of the University of Dayton   

The manufacturing industry is critical to the Dayton region because it represents 100,000 employees in the 12-county region surrounding Dayton and contributes $4.7 billion in annual payroll and $32 billion in annual sales, according to a Wright State University study commissioned by the DRMA.

Of the 18 manufacturing sectors in the U.S., nine reported growth in January including: apparel, leather and allied products; petroleum and coal products; machinery; computer and electronic products; transportation equipment; miscellaneous manufacturing; fabricated metal products; paper products; and primary metals. The seven industries reporting contraction in January include: plastics and rubber products; furniture and related products; wood products; chemical products; food, beverage and tobacco products; electrical equipment, appliances and components; and textile mills.

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