Manufacturing Isn’t Dead in Wisconsin (or the U.S.)


Export Boom Fuels Factory Town's Revival –

It's more a story of exchange rates (weak dollar) than Lean, but manufacturing isn't dead yet, especially in Wisconsin.

As someone who re-opened a closed factory says:

“America got tired of manufacturing,” Mr. Martinez says. “But it remains a great way to make money.”

Some handy stats on the U.S. manufacturing economy from the article:

Nationally, only about 10% of the U.S. work force is currently employed in manufacturing. That's down from a peak of about 42% in the early 1940s, and about 18% in the 1980s.

But while manufacturing now represents about 12% of gross domestic product, down from 15% a decade ago, exports have surged. Last year, the U.S. exported about $1 trillion worth of goods, up 39% from 2002, when the dollar started its decline. The National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group, estimates U.S. exports will hit $1.1 trillion this year. A weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more price-competitive in Europe and other lands with a strong currency.

Now let's hope the surviving and newly-opened factories are also applying Lean methods…

Do you know of similar stories from your part of the country? Factories being re-opened or mini-manufacturing booms?

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  1. Nicholas Hebb says

    Unfortunately, that WSJ link seems to be dead now. I would have liked to read that.

    This is an encouraging story, and I hope they can survive after the dollar rebounds – which I think it will eventually.

  2. Mark Graban says

    The WSJ link works for me, but you can also try this one:


  3. […] contributing to problems in the state’s manufacturing sector? Manufacturing’s not dead (as we heard about recently with Wisconsin), but it is struggling? Lean isn’t a cure-all, but it can help, right? Michiganders, what say […]

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