U.S. manufacturers had another solid quarter of profits in the first quarter of 2012, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau
. The after-tax profits for American manufacturing corporations totaled more than $148 billion from January to March, an increase of $2.8 billion from
profits of $145.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, and $2.6 billion more than the profits of $145.4
billion in the first quarter of 2011.
Manufacturing profits have ranged between $145 billion and $156 billion over the last five quarters starting at the beginning of 2011, which contributed to record-setting profits in 2011 on an annual basis of almost $600 billion. In 2007 before the recession started, manufacturing profits were averaging $110.6 billion per quarter, so the recent averages of $148 billion per quarter since 2011 put current manufacturing profits about 34% above pre-recession levels, and provide evidence of an industry that has made a complete recovery from the effects of the Great Recession.