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IndustryNet Blog

IndustryNet's top manufacturing stories of 2018

Posted by IndustryNet on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

100000313_topstories32018 was a big year for U.S. manufacturing (you might even say it was “yuge”).

As early as January, manufacturing firms were scrambling to sort through the newly-passed tax reform, and shortly thereafter the USTR announced its first tariffs on solar panels and washing machines (remember when it was just solar panels and washing machines?)

Manufacturing in the U.S. continued to expand at a hectic pace, with new orders, production, and employment posting robust gains.

Raw material costs began to skyrocket as tariff action between China and the U.S. intensified and the threat of a trade war loomed.

The trade gap widened and imports surged as companies rushed to procure supplies from China in advance of the 25% tariffs set to go into effect January 1st, 2019 (these were since delayed until March).

And if that weren’t enough, NAFTA was scrapped and North America got a new trade deal with the signing of the USMCA.

Otherwise known as NAFTA 2.0, the Alliance for American Manufacturing called the new deal “A landmark milestone for the American worker.”

IndustryNet has followed these stories closely throughout the year, publishing important information for U.S. industrial companies as the nation’s manufacturing climate continued to shift in response to changing policies.

Many of these industrial climate pieces were among our most popular, as well as those related to industry-specific and state-specific trends tracked by MNI, publisher of the industrial data that powers IndustryNet. Today, we’ll take a look back at the most popular manufacturing stories of the year.

2018’s most popular “Top Ten of Manufacturing” listcarlas pasta

Each week, IndustryNet takes an in-depth look at some of the largest and fastest-growing companies in a given industrial sector, presenting unique data that MNI collects from nearly 400,000 U.S. manufacturers.

We took a close look at the top manufacturers of everything from structural steel fabricators and metal coatings to screw machine products and hot-rolled steel. However, our most popular “top ten” list of 2018 was not related to a specific industry but was one that took a look at the top ten women-owned manufacturers in the U.S.

Read it: Leading women-owned manufacturers in the U.S.

Along with its analysis of women-owned companies, which found that a remarkable percentage of these manufacturers have posted growth in the past year, IndustryNet took a look at the ten largest and ten fastest-growing women-owned manufacturing companies in the U.S.

The year’s most popular industry

Throughout 2018, IndustryNet has examined numerous industries, analyzing data from the 400,000 manufacturers in MNI’s database and producing weekly reports on sectors as varied as aluminum fabrication and contract manufacturing or electropolishing and anodizing.

Hands down, however, data on the U.S. steel sector emerged as IndustryNet’s most popular industry story in 2018. Our steel industry article included a current reading on the health of the U.S. steel sector, providing crucial sales, employment, regional and distribution data.

steel plantRead it: Key facts on the U.S. steel industry today

Given the implementation of steel tariffs in the U.S. it is no wonder that the steel industry emerged as 2018’s most popular on IndustryNet.

Interest was so great, in fact, that we created a guide to help industrial buyers find steel suppliers. You can read about that here.

Our posts on the nation’s oldest steel companies and the largest steel companies in the U.S. also ranked high in popularity on IndustryNet.

2018’s most pressing manufacturing story

The implementation of tariffs stood out as the most crucial story for manufacturers, and IndustryNet was quick to publish essential facts on tariffs as new information unfolded from the USTR.

Our breaking news story on the rollout of the tariffs, included a link to the proposed list of all the items subject to the new duties, and was the year’s second-most popular story.

Read it: USTR announces new tariffs on 6,000+ Chinese products. Here is the full list.

Follow up stories on tariffs like What U.S. manufacturers are saying about tariffs and Trump tariffs: what manufacturers need to know also ranked in the top ten stories of 2018 on IndustryNet.

The year’s top states

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the U.S. added nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs in 2018. Employment data collected by MNI reflected these same extraordinary job gains in the nation’s manufacturing sector.

IndustryNet’s in-depth state manufacturing employment articles based on MNI data were among the most popular stories in 2018, with reports on a manufacturing boom in Nevada and record manufacturing job growth in Connecticut ranking in the top ten.

Read it: Nevada manufacturing is booming. Here’s why.

Also in the top ten was an in-depth look at growth in Washington State’s manufacturing sector since the end of the recession, and an in-depth look at North Carolina’s industrial outlook.

Read it: An insider look at growth in Washington State’s manufacturing sector

But the most popular state was Illinois. In fact, IndustryNet’s report on Illinois’ manufacturing employment was our single most popular story of 2018.

Read it: Where manufacturing is thriving in Illinois

We took an in-depth look at the state of manufacturing employment in our home state, exploring crucial regional, historical, and industry data in Illinois as well as emerging state and federal policies. We dug deep into MNI’s migration data and found that fewer manufacturers were leaving Illinois – and Chicago -- which lead us to ask the headline question: Is Illinois manufacturing at a turning point? Manufacturers moving to Chicago (1)

Although Illinois has been losing manufacturing jobs for many years now, it appears the state was indeed at a turning point, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing strong gains in Illinois manufacturing employment over the past year (keep an eye out for our next Illinois analysis, due out in January).

You can read all of IndustryNet’s state news here.

2018’s top industrial B2B marketing resource

Industrial companies face a growing challenge when it comes to marketing their products and services. Zeroing in on the right market, standing out from the competition, implementing the most effective communication channels and measuring ROI has become more and more challenging amid the changing landscape of industrial marketing.phoenix-heat-treat2 (1)

Back in February, IndustryNet published 17 companies winning at industrial B2B marketing, addressing these concerns and showcasing the many creative ways in which IndustryNet advertisers made the most of their listings and stood out to industrial buyers.

This story ranked as IndustryNet’s sixth-most popular post of 2018.

Read it: How these 17 companies are winning at industrial B2B marketing

Your one-stop industrial resource for 2019 and beyond

IndustryNet remains a one-stop resource, connecting industrial buyers with suppliers, and helping those in the industry stand out to potential customers.

IndustryNet profiles more than 420,000 companies, selling products and services across the entire supply chain and helps provide a direct path for U.S manufacturers to increase their visibility among domestic industrial procurers.


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