Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

Events

Is Manufacturing Output Data a Reliable Indicator of Economic Activity

Sunday 24 March 2019

In short - 'No'. In days of yore manufacturing data meant jobs being done, employed people being paid, sales being made. But with robotics and off-shoring in many parts of Australian manufacturing, it's no longer the value indicator it once was.

In the US it is an even less reliable indicator because in the last 10 years, even as manufacturing in the US rebounded, the number of jobs did not. In fact, job numbers have declined further as automation has increased substantially. So a down turn in manufacturing data means a poorer result for few people. 

This article in The New Daily looks at the reasons why the stock market dropped off the back of, among one thing, flat manufacturing output in the US. But really, should we care - most US manufacturing is headed towards less employees. In short, it's no longer a value indicator that it once was as a down turn really means less robots at work. In Australia our manufacturing sector continues to bounce along, employing plenty and slowly adding select robotics and automation to fill skill gaps shortages rather than displacing workers (the US approach). And there's plenty of manufacturers in Australia across a broad array of sectors doing just nicely thankyou. So interpretation of data needs more than a cursory glance


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