Manufacturing ‘supercycle’ cuts at rumours of American declinism

Investment is flooding into exurbs and rural areas
Photo by Max Sulik on Unsplash

Rumours of American declinism are greatly overstated at least on one count – the massive new investment flooding into US manufacturing.

That the investment is both domestic and foreign is reassuring. It is a sign that the rest of the world believes in America’s decision to bet heavily on itself. Billions of dollars are surging into American heavy industry from three significant pieces of legislation — the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act.

Axios recently reported that spending on new factories in the US, as of April, was three times the 2010s average and the construction sector had added 192,000 jobs over the last year. Meanwhile, companies from around the world are rushing to build large-scale facilities in America, the most recent example being this month’s announcement by two European companies that they will invest $2bn in a Texas synthetic natural gas plant. The outlet quoted Joseph Quinlan, head of CIO Market Strategy at Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank, who described America 2023 as in “the early stages of a manufacturing supercycle”.

This is not about philanthropy but profit. There’s money to be made in America.

All that money pouring in will have significant implications for American politics and society. More high-wage jobs will change the rustbelt, for instance (the administration is planning its metamorphosis into the battery belt). Will good jobs and prospects for the first time in 30 years, soothe the angst and political anger of the left-behind? Will the political pendulum swing away from extremes and back to a moderate centre?

With much of the new investment heading for exurban and rural areas, will they begin to overtake coastal metropolises as arbiters of culture?

(Click here, here and here to read my blogs on the great train revolution underway in America.)