US Manufacturers Regain International Competitiveness

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 07:50 AM

By Dan Weil

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U.S. manufacturers are re-establishing their competitiveness globally after a decade-long slide.

The U.S. trade deficit for manufactured goods narrowed to $225 billion in the first half of the year from $227 billion a year earlier, according to the calculations of Ernest Preeg, an economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"It's a hopeful sign," he told the paper. "At least we've leveled off."

Editor’s Note:
Will This Video Get Obama Fired? See the Evidence.

Meanwhile, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) expects major increases in U.S. manufacturing exports to come. Costs are a major factor, it says in a report to be released Tuesday, according to The Journal.

The shale oil and gas boom will depress energy prices, and workers' pay isn't rising. "The U.S. is steadily becoming one of the lowest-cost countries for manufacturing in the developed world," the report says.

The United States will have an advantage over competitors in both energy and labor costs, according to the report. "This is a fundamental economic shift," Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at BCG, told The Journal.

"The trends are going faster than we thought. As much as people say we don't make anything anymore, it's just not true."

The U.S. energy boom could have far-reaching benefits for the economy, Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup, writes in a commentary for Barron's.

"Recent press reports regarding OPEC and Saudi Arabian concerns that North American shale technology is essentially a global energy game-changer generate some intriguing potential ramifications, including lower current account and trade deficits," he says.

Editor’s Note: Will This Video Get Obama Fired? See the Evidence.

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