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The role of manufacturing in the economic recovery

A production line manufacturing

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let's get to Manufacturing. President Obama is pledging $500 million this morning to jump start jobs in that sector. For more, let's bring in Chris Low. He's chief economist with FTN Financial and he's with us live from New York as he is every Friday. Good morning.

CHRIS LOW: Good morning.

HOBSON: Well, Chris, how big a role do you think manufacturing will play in the future of the U.S. economy?

LOW: Well, I can tell you this: it's definitely playing a bigger role in this economic expansion than it has in the last 30 years. There's a lot of things going on. But what one place we see it is if you look at the percentage of manufacturing industries that are growing. Before the recession in China the numbers were consistently higher than in the U.S. After the recession, consistently higher in the U.S. than in China.

HOBSON: Well, what about the talk though that we were moving toward more of a service economy in the U.S.?

LOW: Well, that's true. For decades we have been, but that's partly because the dollar was quiet strong. The dollar's been weak since '08. That makes U.S. manufacturing more competitive. In addition, what U.S. manufacturers are doing is they're focusing on high-quality, tough-to-do things. And that's something the U.S. is really quite good at. We're seeing a lot of growth there.

HOBSON: Chris Low, Chief Economist with FTN Financial, thanks so much.

LOW: You're welcome.

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