Insight on Manufacturing

July 2012

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A question of impact Federal Reserve: Manufacturing may not be healthy for long-term growth BY BARB AXELSON "We're able to weather the storm. Our skill sets are transferable, as in paper manufacturing to converting, Franz explains. "All the eggs aren't in one basket. Those that invest in only one sector have nowhere to go. If we just concentrated on paper, we' " another place. Academia's perception of manufacturing may not be the reality." The Fed report was critiqued in d be in The Atlantic by senior editor Richard Florida in early May in the article "The Midwest's Manufacturing Conundrum." Florida states, "Instead of trying to recreate the past, these metros would indeed be far better off leveraging their substantial knowledge, creative, university, and human assets for the future. in April. Among various factors that were examined in the study, total job growth and per capita income stats appeared to indicate that "manufacturing-oriented cities fared worse as measured by growth of income and total employment. A " is a kind of shining star in the realm of manufacturing today, says Ann Franz, strategic partnerships manager for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, who serves as the coordinator for the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. While cities like Racine, Gary, Ind. and Pontiac, Mich., face great difficulties, resurgence is the good news. (A resurgent city is one with small declines since the 1960s.) Green Bay, identified in the working paper on the report as a "resurgent city," she says, "focusing on the bad, not the good. As a whole, technology/ productivity is king. In the '60s, it was back power rather than brain power. Any industry 50 years ago would look very different today. "I feel the report is a disservice," industry sectors, compared to cities that focus on one sector (e.g., automotive or steel). Green Bay/Brown County includes paper, food processing, converting and plastics manufacturing. The New North has assumed varied " 14 | INSIGHT on Manufacturing • July 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago report that contends that heavy manufacturing growth in the Midwest may ultimately hinder overall economic growth in the region has manufacturing leaders talking. The report, "Manufacturing as Midwest Destiny" by Bill Testa and Norman Wang, was published in February with Part II released Franz protests. "Products manufactured today require technological expertise. I was dumbfounded by these statements." "That's what we're already doing," " Pieces of pie Fred Monique, vice president of economic development at the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, says overall he cannot argue with the Fed' ensuing conclusions. Therefore he asks, "Is manufacturing the cause of reduced economic development in these metro areas or just a correlation?" For example, Green Bay/Brown s statistics, but rather the County boasts a large health care sector with four hospitals and is building a new VA facility; Humana and United Healthcare represent insurance giants. The area is indisputably diverse and of its 30 largest employers, only six are manufacturers. "Our GDP is growing, Monique. "The reduced economic development referred to by the Fed " says

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