Manufacturing makes up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. economy. That's significant, but in some nations, manufacturing represents 20 percent or more of the total gross domestic product (GDP) [source: U.N.]. Gains and losses in manufacturing can often be felt more keenly than even these numbers would suggest, since a shuttered factory can cripple the economy of an entire city or region. Ask the citizens of Detroit.
With that in mind, news that the Ford Motor Company plans to increase factory production by 13 percent in response to a 27 percent increase in the number of individual buyers in January of 2011 is a very good sign for the economy [source: Krisher]. General Motors also reported record profits in 2010 as well [source: Bunkley].The big picture looks rosy as well: In mid-February, the Federal Reserve reported a 0.3 percent increase in U.S. manufacturing output [source: Chandra & Kowalski].