One Million New Factory Jobs?

Mon, 07/08/2013

HUFFINGTON POST

"One Million New Factory Jobs"

By Scott Paul

July 8, 2013

 

During last year's presidential campaigns, the Obama and Romney campaigns and their supporters ran more than 975,000 in combined television spots on the issue of job creation. Jobs were -- and are -- a top priority for the American people. In President Obama's nomination acceptance speech, he went further and promised to create one million new domestic manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term.

We welcomed that news as a commitment to rebuilding the middle class. It was a quantifiable and achievable goal. And, after the president won reelection, we looked forward to seeing his administration implement the policies needed to keep that promise.

To be clear, we thought creating one million manufacturing jobs was actually a modest goal considering the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in the United States in the past few years (5.5 million disappeared between 2000 and 2009.)

President Obama's promise, it seemed, was a step in the right direction.

We're now approaching six months into President Obama's second term and we've now seen six monthly jobs reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That gives us a good timeframe to judge if the president is on track to keep his promise of creating a million new factory jobs.

To be frank, he's not on track. The manufacturing numbers are dismal, at best.

Let's review the BLS data:

• The manufacturing sector lost 6,000 jobs in June.

• The manufacturing sector lost 7,000 jobs in May.

• The manufacturing sector lost 7,000 jobs in April.

• The manufacturing sector lost 4,000 jobs in March.

• The manufacturing sector gained 23,000 jobs in February.

• The manufacturing sector gained 14,000 jobs in January.

It's not a promising trend.

Because of the import of the president's promise and as a way to monitor the progress toward the president's stated benchmark, in February, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) unveiled a monthly jobs tracker: the #AAMeter. Using the manufacturing numbers from the monthly BLS jobs reports, AAM provides a snapshot of how far the president has come in fulfilling his convention promise.

Right now, our meter shows a mere +13,000.

Clearly, we have a long way to go. To reach the goal of 1 million new manufacturing jobs by January 2017, the United States will need to create an average of 24,000 manufacturing jobs per month. That suddenly looks like a daunting task.

At this point, we're not sure the president or Congress are doing anything to address this drop-off. In fact, they may be doing more harm than good: Congress, by underinvesting in research, education, and America's infrastructure; the Obama Administration, by not holding our trade partners (China and Japan in particular) accountable for their currency manipulation and other market-distorting practices. But they could.

The United States is the only major industrial nation that does not have a cohesive national manufacturing strategy. But there are steps we can take, and AAM has outlined a plan in our new book, ReMaking America, that Washington could follow to help meet President Obama's manufacturing jobs goal. These include much-needed infrastructure investment, workforce training, strong enforcement of our trade laws, and an emphasis on Buy America preferences in public works. If the Administration and Congress show a genuine willingness to act on these common sense policies, we'll see our Jobs Tracker move toward 1 million jobs gained--and quite possibly beyond.

If not, we'll have heard empty campaign promises about manufacturing jobs yet again.

At times, we wonder if anyone in Washington is even interested in creating jobs. Sequesters, debt, and scandals capture the attention of the pundits. But, none of that is doing a thing to put America back to work.

The president can fulfill his campaign pledge, if he meant it. We're willing to help. And, we're waiting for leadership.

@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • MT @ScottPaulAAM Don't cheer 2Q GDP estimate yet: imports rose faster than exports, an unnecessary drag on growth. http://t.co/J7WUhVJxOT 3 hours 45 min ago
  • Missed the news last night? Here's a recap of the status of the legislation to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent: http://t.co/3fNnYwW5KI 4 hours 53 min ago
  • ICYMI: Senate passed its version of Highway Trust Fund bill; shortened length of extension to Dec. instead of May 2015. Heads back to House. 17 hours 11 min ago
  • The Senate is now debating legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund (well, until May 2015). Watch on @cspan: http://t.co/7h65biQlFz 21 hours 3 min ago
  • RT @SteveRattner: Amazing shift in US jobs -- gone from making things to taking care of sick people http://t.co/44ZBilZiCg 22 hours 27 sec ago
  • We must be close to election season. Candidates are talking a big game about unfair trade on the campaign trail: http://t.co/vsahfLZSb4 1 day 24 min ago
  • Looks like @amazon is getting into the 3D printing business. http://t.co/dHa0askSK9 1 day 1 hour ago
  • RT @WisconsinOven: MT @KeepitMadeinUSA @ScottPaulAAM shares ideas in @HuffingtonPost on how to restore American manufacturing leadership:ht… 1 day 2 hours ago
  • BTW, ALL the machines at that Indianapolis Adidas plant helped produce LeBron jerseys. http://t.co/InVSaeooRv Plus more in Iowa & Cleveland. 1 day 2 hours ago
  • !!! RT @darrenrovell The LeBron jersey assembly line at Adidas facility in Indianapolis http://t.co/FCcJz76kpa 1 day 2 hours ago