Chad Moutray, Chief Economist at the National Association of Manufacturers observed that US manufacturing sector growth had been accelerating since July 2013, but January 2014 was slower than expected due to the weather.
In 2013 as a whole, manufacturing grew 2%, compared with 0.1% in the EU, and 3% was expected for 2014. This would be the highest growth since 2005. Consumer spending is up, inflation down, housing starts are increasing, energy production is high and productivity gains are expected. Vehicle sales have increased steadily from the 2009 low of 9.5 million to 16 million in 2013.
A survey of INDA members at the end of 2013 suggested that the main nonwoven growth drivers would be:
· New product development (71%)
· Stronger domestic sales (47%)
· Increased process efficiency (35%)
· Increased exports (35%)
· Mergers and acquisitions. (12%)
A huge boom in chemicals was underway in the US due to the renewed availability of gas and oil. $91bn investment was underway in 130+ new plants including much foreign direct investment. Labour force increases of a million would result by 2020 and petrochemicals would again be exported to the EU and Asia.