While the housing sector's troubles continue to drag down the US economy, manufacturing is doing well, largely because of strong sales overseas.
The exports boom has helped the manufacturing sector grow at a pace three times faster than the rest of the economy.
According to federal data, exports rose for the third straight month in November last year to nearly $160 billion.
Overseas customers are buying more US airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods, industrial supplies, cotton, computers and more.
President Obama has set a goal of doubling US exports by 2015.