This article from Manufacturing Executive Magazine reports that "the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. grew 1.2% last year, the first increase in employment since 1997. Even better news is that some economists are predicting a 2.5% gain this year."
The article goes on to say that "the numbers, while encouraging, won’t reverse the nearly 6 million jobs lost in manufacturing since 1997. More importantly, the modest job growth ahead won’t alter global fundamentals like the shift of manufacturing eastward."
The article concludes by stating many manufacturing leaders believe that "long term U.S. manufacturing will continue to decline unless the government helps", and then askes the question "Can the government really provide an answer?"
Government will play a role one way or another, but will it be the federal government or state governments that takes lead. This question will undoubtedly be answered after the presidential elections in November.
In the meantime it will be interesting to watch and compare how two neighboring state governments tackle this very issue using two vastly different approaches. On the one hand you have Illinois who most closely mirrors the philosophy of the federal government, verses Wisconsin who has become the nations poster child for making tough, and some will argue unpopular fiscal changes. So our question is; "which State will grow and sustain its manufacturing base more?"