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Algonquin, Illinois 60102

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Does Manufacturing Really Matter?

August 23rd, 2018 | Categories: Uncategorized

A recent post on asked, “Does manufacturing really matter?” Below are excerpts from the piece that includes 12 vital signs of manufacturing and how they are trending. This article was received from The Agurban, an Agracel Publication.


William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, stated that “on average, manufacturing output has been growing 3.1% annually over the past 63 years. Automation has enabled U.S. manufacturers to produce significantly more with fewer workers than they did in previous decades. Today, 177 workers can generate as much output as 1,000 plant employees could produce in 1950. Far from a cause for concern, the dramatic loss in manufacturing jobs should be seen as a key metric of success.”

Other economists say that the loss of manufacturing mirrors what happened to agriculture in the 20th century, implying that it is a normal economic correction. But the supporters of the agriculture analogy overlook a key point: When agriculture became automated and required only a tiny percentage of workers to increase output, we may have lost the employment, but we still kept the land and the industry. We are now facing losing entire manufacturing industries, not just the workers.

Economists who believe that a service economy will provide the needed growth for the American economy are simply relying on hope, not facts. The truth is if manufacturing continues to decline, then America will decline. The assumption that a service economy is adequate is a huge gamble which risks living standards, the economy, and in fact, our position as the No. 1 economy in the world.

Assessing manufacturing growth requires looking at 12 vital signs of manufacturing and how they are trending. Together, these signs make the case that American manufacturing is declining in terms of market share and employment but can be saved by policy changes.

  1. Manufacturing jobs – Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data shows the long-term trend in manufacturing jobs is negative, with manufacturing jobs going from 12,348,000 jobs in 2016 to 11,611,000 in 2026 – a loss of 736,000 jobs.
  2. Advanced training – Politicians are desperate for middle-class jobs that don’t require a college education, and they always point to manufacturing as the answer. But the fact is that most manufacturers don’t want the people who have been laid off. They want multiskilled employees (apprentice/journeyman) who will help them do more with fewer workers.
  3. Machine tools – Machine tools are the foundation of manufacturing. They are the master machines that make other machines. In 1965, U.S. machine tool builders were responsible for 28% of global production. By 1986, that share had declined to less than 10%. According to the 2016 Gardner Market Research survey, our share of the global machine tool market now stands at 5.8%.
  4. Trade deficit – When imports and exports of a country are in balance, all trading countries benefit. Each country specializes in what it does best—exchanging its most competitive products for products it could not produce as cheaply as the trading country. Normally trade deficits are self-correcting, because as the deficit grows, the country’s currency is supposed to decline in price in the world market. This makes exported goods less expensive and foreign goods more expensive, which brings trade into balance. But this is not happening because we allow our trading partners to manipulate their currencies to always keep the dollar high and force the U.S. to run trade deficits. An article by the Economic Policy Institute makes a strong case that trade deficits are related to the loss of jobs. It asserts that between 2000 and 2007, 3.6 million manufacturing jobs were lost. After the Great Recession, between 2007 and 2014, another 1.4 million manufacturing jobs were lost. Overall manufacturing lost more than 5 millionjobs since year 2000, during a time of increasing trade deficits.
  5. Federal research – Basic research by the federal government differs from private R&D in that federal basic research is high-risk and seldom translates into commercial products in the short term. Private R&D, on the other hand, is driven by shareholders for short-term profits. Most people are unaware that federal basic research was the initial research that led to the development of many products seen today, including the Google search engine, the internet, GPS, supercomputers, artificial intelligence, smart phone technology, shale gas, seismic imaging, LED technology, MRI, Human Genome Project and advanced prosthetics, to name just a few. In the early 1960s, federal research spending was more than half of the total R&D spending; by 2012, it had fallen to 31% of total R&D. This decline is a very bad trend because this research is the lifeblood of all R&D, and most experts believe that declining basic research will eventually lead to declining GDP growth.
  6. Manufacturing’s share of R&D – Manufacturing R&D is vital because it is 70% of all business R&D. Any decline in manufacturing will result in a decline of R&D and our strategy of innovation.
  7. Advanced technology products – China has already swallowed the low-tech products we use to make. What they want now is our advanced technology products and all of the new technologies that go with them. The U.S. government-designated Advanced Industries sector includes 50 industries—35 manufacturing, three energy, and 12 service. They are our best shot at maintaining competitive advantage and sustainable economic growth. According to the Brookings Institution , Advanced Industries employ 80% of the nation’s engineers, perform 90% of private sector R&D, generate 85% of U.S. patents, and account for 60% of U.S. exports. These industries employ more than 12 million workers and another 27 million secondary workers for a total of 39 million jobs. America’s Advanced Technology Industries now produce 17% of the U.S. gross product. But as important as the Advanced Industries are, there are big problems emerging. Job creation in this category has been stagnant for many years and running trade deficits since 2002. We need to protect the technology of these industries or we simply won’t be able to lead in innovation.
  8. Net exports of capital goods as a share of GDP – Trade in capital goods, such as airplanes, medical equipment, semiconductors, etc., are a big part of our exports and have long been a factor of our competitive strength. But this is no longer true. Capital goods have changed from a surplus to a deficit.
  9. Industries lost or in decline – It would seem that the simplest indicator of either growth or decline is the government figures on industries. The industries that are essentially lost and probably never coming back include textiles and apparel, semiconductors, coal, cellphones, robots, and luggage. The industries that are in decline and may eventually die unless they get some protection include furniture, steel, aluminum, autos, computer and peripheral equipment, and motor vehicle parts. As those industries decline, manufacturing’s share of GDP drops. From 1948 to 2003, manufacturing output increased along with productivity. But from 2000 to 2010, the share of GDP growth began to decline along with manufacturing jobs and overall GDP. In fact, in that decade, manufacturing productivity increased by 66%, while manufacturing jobs declined by 33%. Manufacturing’s percentage of GDP has been declining since 2014.
  1. Exports – Most people do not know that U.S. manufacturing has contributed an average of 70% of American export shipments every year since 2000. But, exports are not growing fast enough to offset the trade deficit. In fact, we are beginning to lose our place as exporter to the world. China has taken over the No. 1 position in world exports. The U.S. exports have fallen to No. 2 and Germany is third and likely to take over the No. 2 position. If increasing the ratio of exports to imports is the only way we can reduce our trade deficit, then manufacturing exports are not only vital, they are the solution to the trade deficit problem.
  2. Our strategy of innovation – Just about everybody, liberal or conservative, believes that innovation is the primary strategy America depends on to compete in the global economy. But the loss of our technologies through partnerships, unfair trade, technology transfer and espionage has shown that we are fast losing our innovation edge to countries like China. If we can’t stop this ongoing loss of technology or halt the decline of U.S. manufacturing, we will not be able to compete with a strategy of innovation.
  3. Manufacturing and national defense – Many industries, like aerospace, high tech, software and others build the products that allow America to have the world’s most powerful arsenal. Basic industries like the chemical, petroleum, mining, and electronics industries are part of our strategic and defensive reserves. Maintaining these industries and the suppliers and skilled workers in them is a matter of national security, yet we are losing ground to foreign manufacturers who manipulate their currencies, have government subsidies, or don’t have to pay the same tariffs they place on foreign imports. For most of the declining industries (despite increasing productivity) it means continuous decline of employment, more imports and the eventual loss of the industry to foreign competitors.

All of these issues problems are connected. If we are to keep an industrial base and have any hope of growing manufacturing or competing with an innovation strategy, we have to address each of these problems with new policies.

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Mid 2018 Industrial Real Estate Market Update

June 18th, 2018 | Categories: Property Values · The Real Estate Market

Based on bi-monthly meetings and industry reports, we have found the general consensus for the 2018-19 industrial real estate  market is positive. New development in the Chicago 6 county market has been consistent at around 20,000,000 square feet annually over the past three years with normal attrition at around 12,000,000 square feet.  Rents, sales prices, construction cost and land entitlements are projected to increase at a 15% to 35% rate; depending on the product and location.  Basic reasons for these increases include: increased cost of material and labor and increased potential operational  improvement expenses.   Adaptations of facilities to accommodate increased concerns for  employee recruiting and retention along with last mile service are requiring many firms to increase their investments in their facilities to accommodate a rapidly changing market. 
E-Commerce is having a major impact on speculative industrial facilities.  Although varying in use, standard production and general warehouse designs are also changing.  Specifications for larger  industrial facilities are incorporating 40’ Clear and higher ceilings, major increases in power, larger parking and truck storage areas, upgrades in levelator dock hydraulics and screens, improved LED lighting, cool roofs (reflecting sunlight rather than absorbing it) solar panels, larger higher quality offices and more.  Designs are being revised for the future to add solar panel additions and for the adaptation of driverless cars and trucks. There is uncertainty as to how the automotive industry and drones will affect our industrial future!
Industrial real estate is becoming more sophisticated as many of our older facilities will only be useful for land value as they are razed.  Building design and expense is adapting to the U.S. future and companies are adapting to the importance of what has been a commodity but may be our most valuable asset.  Skilled Labor and Labor availability for training or retraining are the major factors being currently assessed for U.S. Corporate expansion and Development Speculation.  Small business plans should and will ultimately utilize these factors for their future and any potential expansion or consolidations. Many of these upgrades may not be necessary for small and mid-size firms but we believe Combined Commercial Realty can help with any future planning which should include a real estate exit strategy.

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Lower Down Payments for Loans for Corporate Real Estate

June 1st, 2017 | Categories: Buying a Property · The Real Estate Market

CCR research indicates the Small Business Administration (SBA) is moving to provide improved support for companies to invest in real estate.  A program currently available, for companies with good history and financials, is structured to allow business to retain operating cash but also purchase real estate with a low-down payment of $10,000.  This program is available for purchases up to $5,000,000. 


Real Estate investment for business operations may also see improved cash flow provided by extended SBA 504 loan terms from 20 to 25 years in 2018.  These loans, unlike the program above, will continue to be available with minimum 10% down payment provisions.  The subject programs should give renters the opportunity to own, build equity, and secure long term plans.


Contact G. Pat Ryan at (847) 361-7871 or [email protected] for additional information and assistance in getting started.

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Success may come from past mistakes

May 17th, 2017 | Categories: Buying a Property · CCR News · Renting a Property · Selling a Property

Professional service expectations may be best identified from past mistakes!

Have you ever:

1.       Hired the highest priced prestigious firm for consultation and representation and found your work was being handled by the newest practicing assistant?

2.       Discovered that your independent sales rep is also representing another larger company against your most competitive product line?

3.       Called on your financial advisor for an important meeting only to be advised he has too many clients and either can’t make the meeting or will send his assistant?

4.       Attempted to buy a capital item from an inexperienced salesman who knows little or nothing about the competitive values, specifications or most effective financing purchase options?

Operating as a small selective commercial/industrial real estate firm, CCR provides successful service which includes: Experience, Loyalty, Availability, Current Market Intelligence and Assignment Dedication.

Please review our website and background. We are ready for our next assignment!

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Spring Market Review

March 14th, 2017 | Categories: The Real Estate Market

Smaller industrial property inventories (2,000-35,000 square feet) have been reduced over the last quarter of 2016 and continuing in 2017.  Although prevalent in the entire Chicago six county market, it has been noticeably recognized in the CCR specialty area in the Northwest suburbs.  Our current market intelligence from all industrial/commercial association brokers at our monthly meetings and ongoing in co-broker transactions has been consistent.  Vacancies have substantially reduced and prices are going back up.

Recognizing our position in the industrial/commercial real estate market, as a small firm, the CCR formula for success, as illustrated in our most recent transaction summary, has been to provide concentrated and non-conflicting service to our clients.  We are selectively soliciting new listings and search assignments and we are providing honest experienced guidance. We believe the most effective real estate service to provide the best financial client deal is “just in time” service.

It has always been important, but in this time of volatile market conditions, responsive and dedicated action is paramount to deal success. Deal killers like distractions from assignment overload, corporate misdirection and conflicting real estate brokerage affiliations are inherent in the industrial commercial business. CCR’s small firm model has allowed us to avoid these missteps and has provided continued competitive success.

Please feel free to contact us for any current industrial/commercial real estate information.

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