December 2, 2013: American-made holiday shopping

Posted by LDonia on 12/02/2013

Good morning,

Welcome back after a long Thanksgiving break. We hope your body is free of tryptophan and you’re wide awake and ready for a new week!

Some of you might have spent part of your weekend doing a little holiday shopping, or perhaps you’re scrolling through your email this morning, scoping out the “Cyber Monday” deals. We get it: Holiday shopping, for many of us, is a given.

But please indulge your friends here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM): When you do your holiday shopping, whether in-person or online, try your best to keep your purchases Made in the U.S.A.

AAM President Scott Paul stated:

We consume too much from overseas, and we don’t produce enough here to make up the difference. That burdens us with debt and leaves us with fewer jobs. There is a solution and it may sound quaint, but it’s never been truer than it is today: Buy American.

You need not look further than our growing trade deficit and the (seemingly plateaued) manufacturing jobs numbers to know that what Paul says is true. And as ABC News has reported on multiple occasions: “If every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country.” So really, there’s no downside to making sure some of your holiday gifts, decorations or cards are American-made. In fact, it’s quite patriotic!

We know this is often easier said than done, but we want to make it easily done too. That’s why we’ve posted a list of 51 American-made gifts suggestions, one from every state (and the District of Columbia). Throughout the month of December we’ll continue providing you with ideas, tips, and tricks. So check out our Holiday page often, as we’ll update it frequently.

And now, on with the show …

Frequent readers of AAM’s blog, ManufactureThis, know that we respect and admire the work of fashion designer Nanette Lepore. Lepore makes her eponymous fashion line in New York City and is a fierce advocate for the City’s garment district (and Made in the U.S.A. in general). So we really appreciated seeing her in Stefanie Clifford’s New York Times article this weekend.

Clifford highlights the additional costs that go into making apparel in the United States, and details how these additional costs are received by retailers and marketers alike. Accompanying the article is a short video profile of Lepore and her business. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in why making clothing in America is so important.

Says Lepore in the video:

For me, a lot of the advantages are that I have total control over fit and quality. Most of the factories are within a five-block radius. We know what conditions our workers are working under. In the Garment Center, most of the jobs are highly skilled, craftsmen type jobs, which pay middle-class wages. What people can earn in this industry is a great living.

South Carolina: a model for manufacturing employment. Manufacturing companies in the state have taken it upon themselves to train the next generation of manufacturing workers through apprenticeship programs and partnerships between schools and industry, reports Nelson D. Schwartz for the New York Times:

Apprenticeship Carolina started in 2007 with 777 students at 90 companies. It now has 4,500 students at more than 600 companies in the state, with the typical apprentice in his or her late 20s. (The program director’s) goal is to have 2,000 companies by 2020.

On the radar: Vice President Joe Biden heads to Asia today to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in Japan. AAM hopes Joe discusses currency provisions in the deal. We’ll be following the Veep’s visit closely.

Amazon announced yesterday that it will seek FAA approval to use drones to deliver products to your door.

That's it and that's all for this morning's Early Shift, folks. Happy Monday!


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