CHICAGO – Don’t sound a death knell for Midwestern manufacturing just yet. One recent surprise has been an increase in the amount of goods being produced across the region.

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Some experts think the “next” economy needs to focus on businesses that make products. And the good news is, the Midwest is doing well on this front, according to Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“We’re seeing that a lot of best performing metropolitan economies in the United States – and even on a global scale – are in the Midwest,” he said. Berube is in Chicago this week for a global summit on transforming metro economies.

“Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis – these areas actually lead the nation on output growth in the past year, which suggests that they are benefiting from a strong rebound in the manufacturing sector,” he said, adding:

“The manufacturing sector isn’t employing a lot more people – but output is expanding. And that’s a necessary precursor to job growth.”

The Chicago Fed measures midwestern manufacturing output regularly – at last report, it was 0.7 percent. If you’re interested in the idea of output and manufacturing, and smaller employment, The Chicago Fed had an interesting post about this topic this summer.

Mayors from Minneapolis, Philadelphia, LA and Chicago meet Wednesday for the summit – check back with us then, as we’ll be reporting on what they talk about.