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7/28/2011 - Manufacturing serves as a bright spot in struggling economy

The manufacturing industry has driven jobs growth.

With unemployment over 9 percent and consumer confidence dwindling, the economy appears to be stuck in neutral. But a recent report from ABC News suggests the increase in manufacturing may be driving the country's economic status into positive territory.

Just in the past 12 months, 173,000 jobs in the sector have been created, far outpacing the overall economy. For instance, in Topeka, Kansas, candymaker Mars Chocolate is building a $250 million factory and hiring 200 workers. "I hope it tells Americans that we can build jobs, we can recover our economy," said Mike Wittman, vice president of Mars, in an interview with ABC. "By keeping jobs in the U.S., we can be highly competitive."

But it isn't just candy companies increasing production. Companies making goods such as ATM machines and electronics have recently begun to move production from China to the U.S. The added jobs in these industries may also result in higher earning for retailers, business insurance firms and construction companies.

What explains the shift to America? Economists tell ABC News it has to do with wages increasing overseas, making it more economical for industries to manufacture in the states.

To watch the ABC News report, click here.

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