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      Manufacturing showing biggest growth in years

      The manufacturing industry is growing rapidly nationwide and more jobs are becoming available in northern Michigan.

      The manufacturing industry is growing rapidly nationwide and more jobs are becoming available in Northern Michigan.

      "There's a lot of great manufacturing that's taking place in this area,?? Kevin Schlueter, Kalkaska Screw Products President & CEO, said. ??Not just the Kalkaska area but the greater Traverse City area, there's some amazing manufacturing going on."

      Manufacturing in the U.S. grew this past August at the strongest pace in more than three years, according to a survey done by the Institute for Supply Management. It showed that factories are benefiting from a strong demand for steel and other metals. This is a huge shift from the automotive bailout and recession days.

      ??From where we were five years ago to where we are now is night and day,?? Chris Weieenhamer, Kalkaska Screw Products hydro-mat operator, said. ??(It) got pretty scary in 2009/2010. Here in 2014, it's anything but scary.??

      ??It's very comforting, especially at this company,?? James Brautigam, another hydro-mat operator said. ??We see a lot of growth with manufacturing here, lots of work, and a bright future here for manufacturing.??

      Kalkaska Screw Products have added almost 20 jobs this year and are looking to add 10 more.

      ??To add that many jobs and to help out the community is something we??re really proud of,?? Schlueter said. ??We need more employees. We ship about 2.8 million parts per month and so you need the right number of employees to get that work done.??

      Schlueter credits the sudden increase to the improving economy.

      ??The economy's gotten better,?? Schlueter said. ??It's slowly getting a little better, so I think that that's one of the big reasons why manufacturing has been growing.??

      Weieenhamer adds, ??I think you can just see it in the business all around. There's a lot more people out spending money. It seems like consumer??s confidence is a little higher now.??

      Kalkaska Screw Products is one of many manufacturers benefiting from the increase. It is looking to add two new hydro-mat machines to keep up with the demand for their product.

      The Federal Reserve also reported that factory output rose for six straight months this year and continues to grow monthly.