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Unemployed
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Just How Healthy Is The US Manufacturing Job Market?

I’m not one to rely solely on statistics to tell the entire story. There are usually intangibles – the human element, seemingly unrelated activity – that fill in the blanks.

We’re seeing a seemingly endless stream of upbeat manufacturing stories lately, that either extol the latest bump in US manufacturing performance or predict an ‘imminent’ boon. But the bottom line in any economy is jobs. Well-paying, stable jobs that nurture and allow for growth and progressive development of talent. And I believe there are two keys that trump all the fluctuating ISM PMI surveys and economic fits & starts in vertical sectors.

It’s all about the jobs, and the people that fill them. And everything else is hooey.

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Interview: The Manufacturing Economy, From The Trenches

Steve Kline is the Director of Market Intelligence for Gardner Business Media (publisher of  Modern Machine Shop and other media serving manufacturing since 1923). Steve’s work at Gardner gives him a unique perspective on the US economy, since he studies and reports on very specific manufacturing subsets of it – capital equipment, machine tools, and the economic performance of associated manufacturing technologies & their impact on the companies that sell and purchase them. His work is published regularly on Gardner’s Manufacturing Economic News Blog, and he regularly works with manufacturing groups and associations on research of the US  & global manufacturing economies.

I sat down with Steve to discuss the current state of the manufacturing technology economy, and its vitality in the coming years.

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A Case For Robotics & Automation In US Manufacturing

Kuka Robotics has created an Infographic that presents the advantages that robotics and automation bring to US manufacturing. Feel free to argue all you want that Kuka has a dog in this fight – you’re right.

But now what? Does that make them wrong? I say it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, I happen to agree with the premise that the use of robotics/automation to support the right applications can in fact play a strong role in reshoring production back to the US.

Check out this Infographic from Kuka to get a clearer picture of this premise. (And look below the Infographic for a few more points from me on the subject.)

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Are Social Media Right For All Manufacturers? Maybe Not

Social Media these days may not be worth it for some manufacturing niches and their industrial marketing needs. At least not yet.

I’ve just read an article that eloquently and accurately explains the dramatic differences between industrial marketing and marketing for the consumer sector. It’s so good, that I wish I’d written it myself. I don’t care if you’re a small manufacturer in the heartland, a massive capital equipment OEM on the West Coast, an industrial marketing consultant that serves ’em, or anyone involved in the industrial manufacturing genome – stop what you’re doing:

Read it. Now. Because it’s great.

Great articles often transcend their initial concepts and take us to unexpected topics and conclusions. And this one does that. But more about that in a minute. Continue Reading

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