Evidence of Slowdown in Manufacturing

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks' latest economic report indicates slow downs in U.S. and world economies which are causing a decline in the manufacturing sector.

Ball State University

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks has released his latest manufacturing and logistics report for all 50 states.

The 2019 Manufacturing Scorecard from Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) analyzes how each state ranks among its peers in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics.

These specific measures include: manufacturing and logistics industry health, human capital, cost of worker benefits, diversification of the industries, state-level productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, tax climate, and global reach.

Hicks believes the U.S. and world economies are slowing down.

“We are in a pre-recession or end of business cycle environment,” he says. “Industrial production is down over the first 6 months of 2019. Manufacturing employment in many states is taking a downturn. Nationally, it is holding steady but there is retrenchment, particularly in sectors dealing with exports, transportation and equipment.”

America’s spat with China has led to several rounds of costly tariffs, hurting U.S. manufacturers, says Hicks, Director of the Center for Business Economic Research at Ball State.

“Now, the trade war is broadening from China to Canada, Mexico and India,” he says. “As a result of new tariffs, we are seeing rising prices for parts made for vehicles, slowing demand. We set that clearly in northern Indiana, which is home to most of the nation’s RV manufacturers. Higher prices are dampening demand for many of these high-end products.

The trade war is slowly chipping away at what has been a very long period of economic expansion, Hicks notes.

Visit the Manufacturing Scorecard project website to view the performance history for each state and an archive of past reports with insight into the manufacturing industry.