Despite the sluggish pace, multiple signs are pointing to an economic recovery. With jobs and factory orders on the rise, we’re seeing renewed optimism for American manufacturing. But not all the news is good.

“U.S. manufacturers are not out of the woods yet,” writes John Sprovieri in Five Ways to Revive U.S. Manufacturing. “Although the sector added 404,000 jobs from January 2010 to January 2012, it’s still down 3 million jobs from January 2003. And, the 11.8 million manufacturing jobs tabulated in January 2012 is still a fraction of the peak level of 19.5 million in 1979. Other data provide further cause for concern. From March 2006 to March 2010, business startups are down 24%. In 1960, the U.S. accounted for more than two-thirds of global R&D. Today, two-thirds of global R&D is performed outside of the U.S.”

To help U.S. manufacturers remain competitive, Jack McDougle, senior vice president for manufacturing for the Council on Competitiveness, will deliver the keynote address at Tech ManufactureXPO, a free virtual trade show to be held May 2. McDougle’s keynote address, “MAKE: An American Manufacturing Movement,” is scheduled for 9-10:00 a.m.

Sprovieri recently had the opportunity to speak with McDougle about some of these issues. During the podcast, McDougle discusses the council’s MAKE report, which provides dozens of specific recommendations for addressing the five key challenges facing U.S. manufacturers. If you'd like to hear more, be sure to register for Tech ManufactureXPO and listen to McDougle's keynote address.

What's your take on the MAKE report? Could these suggestions be beneficial to your business?