The manufacturing industry essentially has its own economic cycle, but that has not always been the case. For years, manufacturing and the overall economy were closely linked; when one rose or dipped, so did the other. That relationship waned as the U.S. moved toward a service-based economy, and this has led to greater difficulty in forecasting the economic outlook of the U.S. manufacturing industry. Forecasting is not impossible, however, if the right corresponding global, long-term and subindustry indicators are all taken into account.
Read the full perspective at forbes.com.