Markets In Your Community

Manufacturing Returning to U.S. Cities

Today, a manufacturing revival in happening in the U.S. — a revival that is producing real economic results.

Take, for example, cities in northeast Ohio like Cleveland, Youngstown and Akron. A renewed focus on manufacturing there over the past ten years has led to the growth of about 10,500 jobs, according to Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institution and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

In Brooklyn, the city and private investors are raising hundreds of millions of dollars to create a thriving manufacturing corridor on the borough’s waterfront—“a throwback to the days when workers streamed from nearby neighborhoods into factories that lined Brooklyn’s shores,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Even large manufacturers, who have dominated the American sector for decades, are benefiting from capital markets. Take Ford Motor Company, for instance, which sells vehicles in countries across the globe — but also faces the risk of currency volatility and exchange rate shifts.

“Capital markets help companies protect themselves from the drop or increase in the value of international currencies,” according to a report from Third Way. “Ford uses a foreign exchange future—a contract to trade foreign currency at a specific price—to protect itself from exchange rate movements that could hurt its bottom line.” In doing so, Ford has protected its workers and its investors.

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted in a report that manufacturing’s current-dollar share as a size of the economy increased for three years in a row. In 2012, it reached its highest share since 2007.

In the Los Angeles area, manufacturing is among the largest industries in the city — employing more than 350,000 people as of July 2014, according to state government data. Additionally, manufacturing employees in New York City make about $52,000 per year on average, which is significantly higher than the city’s median wages in the restaurant and retail industries, according to the Brookings Institute.