FIRST WORD: The Shape of Things to Come
We’ve been keeping you posted on seismic changes in the economic development landscape for the past two years. An unexpectedly robust Rust Belt recovery and a swoon in parts of the Sun Belt have kept us busy tracking the movement of jobs.
This shape-shifting isn’t limited to growth prospects for locations. Major industries also are being transformed by economic trends and new technology. In this issue, we look at two sectors critical to jobs creation: advanced manufacturing and logistics.
Jenny Vickers’ cover story heralds the arrival of 3D printing, also known as “additive” manufacturing. If you thought the idea of downloading a design from the Internet and printing it— layer-by-layer—until you get a finished part is the stuff of science fiction, think again. 3D printing is rapidly moving out of the labs and into the marketplace, and it promises to revolutionize the way just about everything is made.
Our annual look at logistics and distribution reveals that key elements of supply chain management are trending in opposite directions: logistics clusters (mega-shipping hubs like Memphis) are growing, while global supply chains are shrinking as manufacturers migrate closer to their markets.