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The Reluctant Recession: NE Ohio Manufacturers Didn't Get the Slowdown They Expected and Project a Strong Economy

12/16/2019

Crain's Cleveland Business

Economists have warned of the beginnings of a national manufacturing recession since late summer, but even with a recent moderate slowdown in the industry, manufacturers in Northeast Ohio remain optimistic heading into 2020.

"Manufacturers have had record returns that they have not experienced in a decade or more, if ever," said Ethan Karp, president and CEO of MAGNET, a nonprofit organization that works with regional manufacturing companies. "The vast majority of manufacturers, looking back at 2017 and then 2018, had record-breaking years. Last year around this time, they crossed the line of pre-recession catch-up."

Manufacturing has long been considered a reliable indicator of the health of the rest of the economy. Data from the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index indicated that November was the fourth straight month that the number used to represent whether there is expansion or contraction in the industry came in below the growth threshold. Strong profits, though, have most manufacturing owners upbeat and in the mood for expansion, even when the market slows a bit, as it did in 2019.

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