Automation is helping manufacturers achieve greater quality, productivity and speed while bringing down costs and gives hope that it will also accelerate job growth in the sector. MAPI figures show that manufacturing production is only 73% recovered from the Great Recession compared with pre-recession levels. "Overall, firms are profitable. They have low debt and high cash ratios, and interest rates are the lowest they have been in decades," says MAPI Chief Economist Daniel J. Meckstroth. "One would expect in this environment to see very strong growth in new investment. Unfortunately, we have not seen that."

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