Guess Which Sector Is Pulling Us Out of the Recession

Last Updated Apr 7, 2010 12:48 PM EDT

It's been an under-reported, or at least under-emphasized fact as we pull out of the economic collapse. Rising employment and productivity in the manufacturing sector is leading this country back to health. Just plain 'ol nuts-and-bolts, get-your-hands-dirty manufacturing. Making things.

Some data points to consider.

  • March employment data released today confirms that manufacturing activity is growing at its fastest pace in five-and-a-half years, helping the nation avoid a double-dip recession.
  • Manufacturing hiring this month will reach a level not seen since June 2008, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
  • In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity rose to 59.6 in March, the highest since 2004, and the eighth consecutive month of growth.
If we needed yet another reason why manufacturing is important to America's growth and competitiveness, we are getting a lesson each month as the latest jobs reports and economic activity reports are released.
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.