Manufacturing Report

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Economists expressed disappointment with the latest Commerce Department activity Report for American's manufacturing sector, but here in the stateline, some manufacturers say things are starting to turn around.

Some sectors of manufacturing continue to slump, but the automotive side is showing signs of life.

"Our activity level is sky high right now. From that we expect to get some machine orders," says Fred Johnson, president of Rockford's Redin Corp.

As more manufacturers call it quits or move out of the area, these companies are benefiting from a little less competition and a lot of creativity.

"We've sustained ourselves by spare parts, sub contract work, general machining. Just trying to be creative," says Redin's Johnson

While local manufacturers are glad to be on the road to recovery it's been a rough trip. Redin employed 34 workers two years ago, now they only have eight. Johnson says his goal is to bring workers back.

Forest city grinding is gushing with the same sense of optimism.

"These people are not going to stop in the city of Rockford. This is a group of tough manufacturers and they're not just going to walk away and lock the doors," says Dwight Shepherd, president of Forest City Grinding.

In 2003 the company posted a seven percent increase in revenues and this month they've hired on another full time worker.

"It's picking up so we foresee as much as last year if not more. We don't see it slowing down any," says Dave Johnson of Forest City Grinding.

Manufacturers hope this spark in activity stays around for a while.