According to a report by the Associated Press, “Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and autos.” The total increase came in at 2.2 percent. In addition to the demand for airplanes and autos, February-end reports showed growth in the technology sector as well, including computers and other electronic parts and equipment. These durable goods alone rose 1.1 percent in February.Specifically, the push to manufacture tech goods in the United States may be the source of the slight increase, however slow the growth. At the end of February, President Obama pledged a combined $280 million in funds toward technology manufacturing plants and suppliers in Detroit and Chicago.
The stimulus focuses specifically on production of high-end tech goods such as resilient metals and digital designs, and not mass-produced small-scale components and equipment. The focus on large-scale durable goods could again secure the United States as a global authority on auto production, but the goal may not be met as soon as economists would like.
While the gains are good news for the U.S. economy and manufacturers, analysts believe U.S. auto manufacturers and other high-tech suppliers are still driving through the storm. Newsday reports, “Most economists expect the harsh winter that enveloped much of the country in January and February have put the brakes on first-quarter growth. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.3 percent rate in the final four months of 2013.”
In February, fresh orders for other components did fall from 58.0 to 59.6, sources say. Overall, the push to bring U.S. manufacturing back to the main land won’t be without its setbacks, but as Q2 approaches, economists should gain a better understanding of exactly how peaks and valleys will impact state of U.S. manufacturing in the global market.