Manufacturing exports strong despite travails

Layoffs and factory closings make plenty of headlines, but Midwestern states are quietly making admirable progress in exporting more manufactured products, according to Bill Testa, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Manufacturing exports likely increased 11 percent last year, Testa said in a new blog posting. That would be the third consecutive year of gains above 10 percent, both for the Midwest and the United States as a whole.

The growth also was broad, taking in transportation, machinery and metals, among other sectors. Strong global demand is driving most of the growth, he said.

The Midwest figures are for the Chicago Fed district, which includes most of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as all of Iowa. Testa did not detail figures for Indiana.

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