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It’s tough to describe this morning’s manufacturing production figures from the Federal Reserve (for January) as anything but excellent, and anything but another strong endorsement of the stiff, sweeping tariffs former President Trump imposed on goods, especially from China. By shielding industry from a flood of imports from the People’s Republic, these trade curbs have undoubtedly contributed to a manufacturing recovery that entered its ninth straight month in January, and brought its production to within a whisker of pre-CCP Virus levels.

Moreover, as noted last month, the sector’s prospects seem bright, since not only has the entire economy kept recovering as CCP Virus vaccination proceeds and accelerates, but the aerospace industry revives both from its Boeing safety-related woes and the pandemic-related travel slump, and vaccine production surges.

Domestic manufacturers’ real output rose by 1.04 percent sequentially, increases were broad-based, and revisions were strongly positive. Although December’s previously reported 0.95 percent growth was downgraded to 0.94 percent, November’s was revised up for the second straight time (from 0.83 percent to 1.10 percent), and October’s for a third straight time (from 1.34 percent to 1.51 percent).

Due to these revisions, despite the severely recessionary impact of the CCP Virus both at home and abroad, domestic manufacturing’s inflation-adjusted 2020 production decline now comes in at just 2.01 percent, rather than the 2.63 percent reported last month. In addition, price-adjusted manufacturing output has advanced by 24.11 percent since its April nadir, and is now a mere 0.75 percent below its last pre-pandemic level last February.

As encouraging as the January figures and revisions were was their breadth. In fact, for the second straight month, the constant dollar output improvement came despite a small (0.72 percent) sequential dip in the automotive sector, whose major ups and downs have heavily influenced overall manufacturing production results for much of the pandemic period.

One cautionary note: January monthly after-inflation output growth for the big machinery category – which turns out production equipment for the rest of manufacturing, and devices crucial for other major industries like construction and agriculture – was only 0.52 percent, just half that for the entire manufacturing sector. And revisions were mixed.

More encouraging: Machinery’s growth has been strong enough that its real output is now back to within 1.12 percent of its February pre-pandemic levels.

January also saw accelerating growth in aircraft and parts production. Monthly output in expanded by 2.89 percent in January, December’s strong initially reported 2.78 percent increase is now judged to have been 3.03 percent, and November’s has been upgraded from 2.39 percent to 2.50 percent.

In fact, recovery in these aerospace sectors has been so vigorous that their output is now 6.77 percent greater than their February pre-pandemic levels.

Probably reflecting the vaccine effect, price-adjusted production of pharmaceuticals and medicines increased by 2.42 percent on month in January – the best showing since July’s 2.57 percent. But revisions were mixed, and this vital sector’s real output is only 4.11 higher than in February, just before the pandemic struck the U.S. economy in full force. On the brighter side, immense vaccine demand makes clear that the industry’s upside is enormous for the time being.

As for medical equipment and supplies – including virus-fighting items like face masks,face masks, protective gowns, and ventilators – their production performance keeps lagging badly. Inflation-adjusted output for this category (which encompasses many other products as well) actually fell in January for the second straight month – and by 0.54 percent. In fact, constant dollar output in this sector is 2.18 percent lower than during the last pre-pandemic month of February, 2020.