Manufacturing growth has been one of the "bright spots" in the sluggish U.S. economic recovery, helping boost U.S. exports and corporate profits.
For millions of jobless factory workers, however, the outlook is not as bright.
President Barack Obama traveled to North Carolina on Wednesday to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the ongoing economic recovery, renewing his calls for a "public private partnership" to spur further job growth. The announcement made at North Carolina State of the first of three "manufacturing innovation institutes" echoed past pledges in the last two State of the Union speeches. The president is scheduled to deliver his latest on Jan. 28.