December 9, 2013: China reports biggest trade surplus in five years

Posted by TGarland on 12/09/2013

Good morning,

Last week came a new set of national employment data, and we learned that the manufacturing sector’s share of jobs gained some ground: 27,000 new ones added in November, to be precise. Pretty cool, eh? The #AAMeter, our running tally toward the 1 million manufacturing jobs President Obama promised to help create by the end of his second term, actually moved in the right direction. We’re way off pace toward hitting the target, but progress is ... well ... progress.

So where are these new jobs coming from? What’s fueling this mini-surge in manufacturing employment? Energy production, writes CNBC’s Javier E. David:

(Mohsen Bonakdarpour, director of economic impact analysis at research firm IHS,) estimated that 3.2 percent of all manufacturing jobs last year were linked to the U.S. oil and natural gas surge and that the figure could jump to 4.2 percent by 2025.

"That means unconventional development will support close to 400,000 manufacturing jobs by 2015 and 500,000 by 2025," he said.

That’s a lot of jobs. Energy production is something to keep an eye on while we continue to watch for job growth. Because remember: Increasing manufacturing productivity and increased manufacturing employment don’t go hand in hand.

Elsewhere around the web:

Hey, how’s our eternal trade deficit with China doing?


And speaking of China: Chinese buyers are making big buys in the Motor City. In a column for Forbes, Gordon G. Chang notes that investors are gobbling up cheap property in downtrodden Detroit, but there’s some complex reasoning behind this phenomenon:

The Chinese have only 13% of their wealth outside China, according to Oliver Williams of WealthInsight, while the global average is 20% to 30%, so some transfers of wealth abroad are normal for a developing society. But it’s not just money that is fleeing. A study conducted by Bank of China and Hurun found that more than half of China’s millionaires have taken steps to emigrate or are considering doing so. This statistic tells us the transfers of cash out of China are not just normal diversification.

TPP update: Despite plenty of beef with the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership on the homefront about the lack of a rule addressing currency manipulation, bilateral negotiations -- ahead of the next big TPP meeting -- between the U.S. and Japan are ongoing. They’re ongoing at a snail’s pace, reports Kyodo News International, but ongoing all the same.

And it’s gift-giving season, America. While you’re out there doing your holiday shopping, whether in-person or online, your pals at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) hope you keep your purchases Made in the U.S.A.

Why? AAM President Scott Paul said it thusly:

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.

Easier said than done? Not if we help you out! 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.

Have an American-made gift that you’re giving, or coveting? We want to hear about it. Tweet it to @KeepItMadeinUSA or email us: info [at] aamfg [dot] org.

Happy Monday, America!


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