Machinery sales have been booming as U.S. manufacturers invest in new equipment. That's been happening in the plastics industry, as reports from the Plastics Industry Association have pointed out, but those investments have been widespread everywhere.
As the public radio show Marketplace reported this week, orders for equipment that manufacturers use to make things — known as core capital goods — hit a 40-year high in January. (You can find the graph via the St. Louis Federal Reserve here.)
Part of the push is that consumers have money to buy goods, but the labor shortage is affecting manufacturers' ability to deliver items.
"The challenge has been meeting that demand, with all of the supply chain issues, and workforce challenges that we continue to see kind of around the world," said Chad Moutray, chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers, told Justin Ho of Marketplace.
Automation and other equipment that manufacturers can use to make more things with fewer people is driving capital expenditures.
Plastics News Economics Editor Bill Wood has been tracking similar numbers tracking investments in new equipment.
"It is good news for our economy and our industry," he says.