An increase in orders is encouraging news for the manufacturing industry. Responding to a July Census Bureau report that factory orders increased by 2.5% in May while inventories declined by 0.3%, Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, says, "The rise in orders is quite encouraging and points to a fragile but emerging recovery."

Jasinowski says that the semiconductor industry is leading the way with a 32.5% increase and the auto industry followed suit with order increases across the board. Nondurables increased by nearly 2% and electronics orders increased by 2.3%. Although this is positive news, Jasinowski suggests remaining "somewhat guarded in the face of some serious global economic problems that could keep growth slow over the next few months."

Jasinowski hopes this is the beginning of a strong upswing in industrial production, but cautions that "with surplus capacity still remaining, as well as slow growth overseas and a high dollar dampening foreign demand, many firms will be cautious in placing orders because their own margins are under pressure." He predicts that a slow climb to economic recovery should occur by the fourth quarter.