Ignore the Hype: We Aren’t Even Close to Declaring a Manufacturing Victory

Posted by elizabethbb on 06/20/2014

You might have seen a new report released this week from the U.S. National Economic Council that put forth the idea that American manufacturing is more competitive than it has been in decades. That report found that “manufacturing output has increased 30 percent since the end of the recession,” and said there’s been an increase of 646,000 manufacturing jobs since 2010.

That all sounds great — but when you dig a little deeper, you discover a very different picture.

As Richard McCormack, editor and publisher of Manufacturing and Technology News, explains in the Christian Science Monitor:

We’ve suffered such a colossal loss of manufacturing jobs that we couldn’t really lose many more. We hit our nadir and we couldn’t really go down more than we had. So we’re really bouncing off the bottom.

The Monitor lays out some revealing statistics that further showcase that while things might be on the upswing, there’s a long way to climb to get back to where we once were just a decade ago:

In 2000, there were more than 17 million manufacturing jobs in this country, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number dropped to just 14 million by 2004 and plunged even further following the 2008 financial crisis. By 2010, there were just 11.5 million manufacturing jobs.

That’s not all, folks. President Obama still has a long way to go to meet his own goal of creating 1 million manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term. As our #AAMeter notes, just 134,000 jobs have been created since Obama began his term, meaning an average of at least 28,666 jobs must be created each month to meet the goal. The president will need to pick up the pace if he wants to make his goal — just 10,000 manufacturing jobs were created in May.

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we are not entirely pessimistic. As we noted after the White House Maker Faire on Wednesday, there’s a lot the administration can do to encourage manufacturing job growth, including:

  • Getting serious about the deficit. The overall U.S. international goods and services trade deficit rose to $47.2 billion in April; the goods deficit with China soared to $27.3 billion. The deficit remains the biggest impediment to a true manufacturing recovery, reflecting the millions of good factory jobs that shifted overseas (and the jobs that continued to be threatened).
  • Implementing a Comprehensive National Manufacturing Strategy. Enacting and enforcing strong trade laws, combating currency manipulation, investing in infrastructure, and supporting Buy America provisions are just a few of the things that can be done to encourage manufacturing job growth.

Related recent Blogs

@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • ICYMI: Senate passed its version of Highway Trust Fund bill; shortened length of extension to Dec. instead of May 2015. Heads back to House. 4 hours 54 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 8 hours 46 min ago
  • RT @SteveRattner: Amazing shift in US jobs -- gone from making things to taking care of sick people http://t.co/44ZBilZiCg 9 hours 42 min 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 12 hours 7 min ago
  • Looks like @amazon is getting into the 3D printing business. http://t.co/dHa0askSK9 13 hours 30 min ago
  • RT @WisconsinOven: MT @KeepitMadeinUSA @ScottPaulAAM shares ideas in @HuffingtonPost on how to restore American manufacturing leadership:ht… 14 hours 15 min ago
  • BTW, ALL the machines at that Indianapolis Adidas plant helped produce LeBron jerseys. http://t.co/InVSaeooRv Plus more in Iowa & Cleveland. 14 hours 15 min ago
  • !!! RT @darrenrovell The LeBron jersey assembly line at Adidas facility in Indianapolis http://t.co/FCcJz76kpa 14 hours 17 min ago
  • Wisconsin companies are going on a national tour to promote American manufacturing: http://t.co/r08lzCvW83 15 hours 5 min ago
  • This --> http://t.co/JEuzlRwYjr @USAToday examines the myth of the STEM workers shortage. 1 day 10 hours ago