Michael J. Fox, we need another sequel to Back to the Future.
This time, forget about fixing up your parents or bringing back an almanac -- we need to know what the future holds in store for industrial production in the U.S.A. General Motors and Chrysler have gone the way of the company that made your DeLorean (bankrupt), and legendary steelmakers like United States Steel
Great Scott! When will it end?
What the company needs in order to bounce back is beyond its control: nothing less than the rebirth of an active manufacturing base, within an economy that came to rely upon the service sector for more than 75% of GDP. When all else fails, you go back to your bread and butter, and for the U.S., that means manufacturing.
Offering a dose of that good ole' American optimism, AK Steel suggests that we may see the beginnings of a recovery in the automotive sector during the second half, with a potential 40% increase in automotive shipments for the company over the first half of the year. I sure hope AK's right, but the data I see makes it hard to ignore a decidedly more cautious outlook from Dan DiMicco, CEO of AK Steel's competitor Nucor.
No one seems immune to this massive industrial malaise. Allegheny Technologies
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Fool contributor Christopher Barker applauds the unbreakable spirit of the scores of industrial workers directly impacted by this economic crisis. He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns no shares in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a stainless disclosure policy.