American manufacturing is bigger than ever. But if we expect manufacturing to support the U.S. and Midwest economies, forget it.
These two statements sound contradictory, but they're facts that need to guide some of our thinking as we plot the Midwest's post-recession future.
The contradiction was laid out in a fascinating article by William Strauss, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, presented in the invaluable blog run by Bill Testa, the Chicago Fed's vice president and director of regional programs. Strauss' article is entitled "Is U.S. Manufacturing Disappearing?" His answer is no, but the real interest is in the details.