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The Complete Idiot’s Guide® To: Economic Indicators by Mark R. Rogers

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Part 5. Manufacturing and International Trade

The other sector of the economy (besides housing) that causes the biggest ups and downs is manufacturing. You’ll see how manufacturing production is measured but also how it all flows. Factory orders tell you where manufacturing is headed while inventories give you a good hint at whether manufacturing has been running too hot or needs to pick up the pace. You’ll see how inventories provide warning signals on the economy for retailers and manufacturers.

But it’s also not the middle of the twentieth century anymore for manufacturing. The world economies have grown and become intertwined. We’re talking about international trade—imports and exports have risen sharply worldwide. What’s the United States ...

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