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Talent Talk: Eye-Popping Data You Probably Didn’t See

Article-Talent Talk: Eye-Popping Data You Probably Didn’t See

Sean Justice/The Image Bank via Getty Images construction site
I’ve rarely come across under-reported news that had me wanting to scream, “Stop the presses.” Until now.

Last week we talked about the light at the end of the tunnel for the manufacturing sector, including the plastics industry, and the two major factors that are behind the coming expansion. I will continue a deeper dive into why we are on the brink of something quite remarkable, but that is going to have to wait a week.

Due to my business, I have become a data junkie. I look at jobs reports, interest rates, wage growth, plastics industry market trends, government and private industry data, and so on. We have even taken a victory lap now and again as we were ahead of most in predicting the V-shaped recovery from the COVID-19 recession, the resilience of the labor market, and Fed action on interest rates.

That said, rarely has any piece of data shocked us to the “stop-the-presses” point . . . until now. And, unlike the sexy data that the media is all over — inflation, interest rates, or unemployment numbers — this data is buried. I’m willing to bet you have not heard about it on the evening news.

Data recently released from the Census Bureau reveals that construction by manufacturers more than doubled over the past year on an annualized basis. Because spending on residential projects is down quite a bit, that weighs on the overall construction numbers, and you must peel back the onion to see what is going on in the manufacturing world.

Federal Reserve Economic Datagraph showing manufacturing construction spending

Construction by US manufacturers has soared starting in 2022.

Where are these facilities being built? The mountain west (think semiconductor factories in Arizona and Utah), the upper Midwest, and east south central (Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee) are growing the fastest, but it is pretty much across the board. Major investments that have been started or announced include a nutritional powder factory in northwest Ohio, an EV charger factory in central Texas, an iron-air battery facility in West Virginia, and a solar cell and panel facility in eastern Oklahoma.


About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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