US manufacturers are making one thing - profits

The last few years have been tough on many Americans who work in the manufacturing industry, but they haven't been nearly as tough on the manufacturers’ profits.

U.S. manufacturers have seen a steady uptick in profits since bottoming out in late 2008, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

After-tax profits for U.S. manufacturers totaled $159.7 billion in the second quarter, according to the Census Bureau. That’s nearly triple what they were in the second quarter of 2009, when corporations were just starting to emerge from the deep economic blows of 2008. The data is seasonally adjusted.

The Census data also include any money the manufacturers made or lost by producing or selling goods in other countries.

Joel Naroff, economist with Naroff Economic Advisors, said that’s one reason profits have been on the rise over the past couple of years.

“Globalization is, to no small extent, driving a fair amount of these profits,” Naroff said.

Another big help: The weak U.S. dollar.

“The weak dollar has begun to actually do what it’s supposed to do and that’s to generate more exports,” Naroff said.

Still, even as manufacturers have seen their bottom lines improve, job gains have been scarce.

About 11.7 million people are currently employed in U.S. manufacturing, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That’s about two million fewer than when the recession began in December of 2007, although it is an improvement over a low of around 11.5 million in late 2009.

Some companies have automated more functions so they can boost productivity without adding a lot of workers, while others have simply found a way to squeeze more work out of their existing workforce.

The big question now is whether such gains can last. Naroff said compensation costs may have increased since the second quarter, and manufacturers may also be paying more for the commodities they use to make their products. Those factors could mean that profits start to slow, he said.

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  • by NAFTA on Oct 22, 2011 at 05:52 AM
    The root of this issue started long before Obama. Anyone with half a brain knew this is what NAFTA was going to help do. Corporate greed, greed, greed.
    • reply
      by Small Business on Oct 22, 2011 at 02:07 PM in reply to NAFTA
      Let me make one small correction: POLITIcorporate greed, greed, greed. See Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, and Vincente Fox's fortunes keep on growing.
      • reply
        by uh on Oct 25, 2011 at 11:36 PM in reply to Small Business
        Actually fortunes on both sides of the aisle are growing, and I've found that corporate america is running Washington. Do you know what's going on in the commodities market right now? A flood of capital on goods that don't naturally appreciate. Do you know how their value goes up? Through that very same flood of investment capital. Market manipulation is rampant by both parties and their corporate masters.
  • by Alexis Location: ECU on Oct 22, 2011 at 04:46 AM
    Employers are afraid to hire because of the expense that Obama Care has on their businesses. In 2012 vote Republican, to get hiring back on track.
    • reply
      by Wrong on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM in reply to Alexis
      Total BS, employers are not hiring because THEY DON'T HAVE CUSTOMERS. The 1% only spend so much in the US, and invest billions overseas. Health care and govt regulations have NOTHING to do with it, when businesses need more workers they will hire more workers.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 01:18 PM in reply to Wrong
        The 1% you speak of DOES NOT keep the likes of Walmart, Target, Dollar Generals open. Your post is hog wash ! The top 1% never shop at common stores. Business is making profits because they have cut costs TO THE BONE. As sales rise, they will begin hiring more people to produce more goods. Stop fooling yourself. You're title is so correct... WRONG !
    • reply
      by To Alexis on Oct 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM in reply to Alexis
      But they aren't afraid to bank the extra profits! This proves exactly what has been said- the only reason they are not hiring is they are raking in profits AND tax exemptions! The do NOT need the tax exemptions!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 05:40 PM in reply to Alexis
      Another mis-informed fox viewer.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Oct 22, 2011 at 03:57 AM
    Until Obamacare is called back, this will be the way of the future. Also, most manufacturing jobs are moving out of the US due to the EPA Czar. Its the Obama way!
    • reply
      by Dark Horse on Oct 22, 2011 at 05:48 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      What does your comment have to do with the topic of the article? Oh right...don't confuse you with the facts, you only have one train of thought.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 06:14 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      OSO continues to blame the EPA for the loss of manufacturing jobs, yet he has no facts to support his claim. If he had his way the U.S. would be billowing smoke into the atmosphere and polluting streams like China does.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 01:21 PM in reply to Anonymous
        So let's just stop all US production because some CO2 is released. Would you be happy then ? The company I work for spent over $ 1 million to collect anything spilled on the ground in our facility. It's pumped into a tank then released back to the sewer to be treated. The same sewer where it would have run ANYWAY if left alone. More government regulations for NOTHING !!!!
      • reply
        by Small Business on Oct 22, 2011 at 02:04 PM in reply to Anonymous
        China is making those profits for U.S. Manufacturers, as well as the smoke and water pollution, while we make snail darters and zebra mussels here.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 05:33 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      What??? Are you still on your meds?
  • by P on Oct 22, 2011 at 03:44 AM
    Cause congress made all the laws to fill their pockets going out of country to manufacture!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 01:00 AM
    Continue to get tax breaks without hiring new employees....the Republican way!!
    • reply
      by DINO on Oct 22, 2011 at 03:58 AM in reply to
      Not just tax breaks, but also bailouts and other incentives. Call the 99% movement disorganized, call them liberal, but one thing they've got right and that is the gap between the 1% and the rest of us has grown more in the last decade than ever in the history of the US. Here in NC where employers don't even have to provide their employees health benefits (I know an EMS at the FD who pays $1K/month for his own health care, go figure!) and the average job pays just pennies over minimum wage, you're talking about indentured servitude.
      • reply
        by frank on Oct 22, 2011 at 08:19 AM in reply to DINO
        I work hard every day to get to the 1%. If I get there I won't look back. I am one of the 99% who is not jealous of the 1%. If they are smart enough, lucky enough or work hard enough, who am I to say they do not deserve it. Most of the 99% would love to be there.
        • reply
          by Common Sense on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM in reply to frank
          As long as you don't violate the law or receive government bailouts due to incompetence, I say more power to you. We're not talking about a free market here, the 1% seem to have found a way to keep themselves enriched without actually earning a penny of it.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 01:25 PM in reply to frank
          Common Sense on Oct 22, 2011 at 01.... the 1% you speak of is actually about 1% of the 1%. Not all rich people are bad. Some are, just like some poor people are bad. Fact is, most CEO's worked up from college. Most are not crooked. Most make decisions that make their corporations millions, so the SHAREHOLDERS pay them well. Stop being jealous. I agree, hold the crooked ones like obama accountable. He's getting rich off of tax payers like you and me. The CEO of Solyndra was one of obamas largest donors... coincidence... NOT !
        • reply
          by Worked? on Oct 22, 2011 at 02:15 PM in reply to frank
          Why don't you look up those 1% and find out exactly how they made their money? It might just open your eyes!
    • reply
      by US-First on Oct 22, 2011 at 05:52 AM in reply to
      Your lips keep moving but all I hear is bla bla bla bla... Instead of taking a story at face value how about do a little homework on the issue yourself. You will find that the uptick is still no where near what manufacturers were making pre 2008. You will find that the economic and political climate, thanks in large part to brain dead democrats, is still to volatile for business to reinvest . These companies still want to survive the policies that passed by the democrats but have not fully implemented. Get a clue! Its the same for anyone family or individual with a brain. You don't go spending wads of money right now. If you are smart you are tightening your belt, living on less, and watching your savings hoping to emerge on the other side of the Obama bad dream. Don't get me wrong. He is a nice guy. I could tip a pint with him and probably find hem to be a fun friend. I have several Socialist Marxists friends. You just have to keep them out of leadership positions in this country.
      • reply
        by To US-First on Oct 22, 2011 at 02:16 PM in reply to US-First
        "taking a story at face value" -do you mean read it? What homework do you suggest? Do you have access to the same records these statisticians do? NO! What you are saying is "don't pay attention to facts"!

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