"When business is good, you have to wait months to get trucks and equipment," Marsha Serlin said.
At the Federal Reserve, Strauss' numbers queue up with what Serlin's team is experiencing. National output in the motor vehicles and parts industry grew 130 percent from June 2009 to February 2013, leading all other industrial categories, Strauss said.
And the category with the second-highest rise in output, "primary metals," such as steel and aluminum, is a major component of auto production.
"It's like a tennis ball," Strauss said. "The sectors that fall the most can bounce back the strongest."
That's also why manufacturing in the Midwest has outperformed the U.S. economy during the recovery — because we fell more.
"Primary metals and automotive are the sweet spots for Midwest manufacturing," he said. "We have less than 13 percent of the U.S. population but produce about 30 percent of the vehicles and a third of the steel."
In all, American manufacturing has recovered 85.7 percent of the output it lost during the recession, Strauss said.
"We are getting awfully close to reaching all-time record highs in manufacturing," Strauss said.
But here's where the numbers turn grim.
While the manufacturing sector added about 517,000 jobs since mid-2009, that increase represents only 22.6 percent of the jobs lost during the downturn.
"So we've recovered 85 percent of the work with only 22 percent of the jobs," Strauss said. "Manufacturers are becoming more efficient."
Strauss said that we have hit bottom according to most every economic indicator.
Residential housing, though, will not recover until people recover. And many people won't recover — because their jobs will never come back. They'll go do something else at a lower wage.
So I'm not expecting a windfall on my house.