Manufacturing Posts a Huge Month, But Why?

US manufacturing had its best month in three years and grew for the fifth consecutive month in December. Reuters juxtaposes the good news with the bad:

But a separate report showed a decline in homebuilding activity in November pushed construction spending beyond a six-year low.

Make no mistake: Growing US manufacturing is good for America. But US manufacturing isn't growing because the economy is strong. It's growing because the dollar is weak.


Our manufacturing sector is being tugged up from the mire of the recession by low interest rates, a cheap dollar and an early recovery out of east Asia. All that makes our products cheap and Asian buyers rapacious. Good for us! A recovery led by manufacturing is better than a recession. But the Reuters piece highlights the schizophrenia of this recovery in which America is growing while tens of millions of Americans are out of work and consumers in general are still loathe to spend and are moving less than at any time since World War II.