The key manufacturing moments of 2013
America's manufacturing sector has been a hot topic on the political and consumer scene recently. In 2013, we saw some corners of the public sector announce Buy American procurment plans, and a few big-name companies pledge to increase their domestic manufacturing footprint. Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we’re cautiously optimistic that we can continue this momentum in 2014.
But not all was sunny for American manufacturing, and we've got to take the good with the bad. Here are seven key moments in American manufacturing (in no particular order).
1. For the first time since April 2009, manufacturing employment is above 12 million.
U.S. manufacturing added +27,000 jobs in November. In 2013, the U.S. has gained a total of +63,000 jobs. But, we’re still far from Obama’s second term goal of adding one million new manufacturing jobs. Check out the #AAMeter.
2. The U.S. trade deficit with China reaches an all-time high of $30.5 billion in September.
America's 2013 year-to-date trade deficit with China of $267.0 billion is running ahead of 2012's year-to-date balance of $261.6 billion. Here's AAM President Scott Paul's comment on the September news:
Today's trade data show that the challenges with China in particular are growing worse, not better. I'm very pleased that Treasury Secretary Lew has noted the trade imbalance with China and other nations during his trip to Asia this week. But actions matter even more. Not naming China as a currency manipulator was inexcusable. Tongue-lashings won't work, but a credible threat of sanctions will.
3. The House and the Senate introduced initatives to support American manufacturing companies and jobs.
4. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge new eastern span opened years late, a few billions over budget, and made with plenty of foreign steel.
We’re hoping that this is a lesson learned for future federal and state transportation projecs. Next up: The New York Department of Transportation. In 2014, will the Empire State eschew American steelmakers in favor of government-subsidized manufacturers in China for reconstruction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge?
5. Apple begins production on its first ‘Made in America’ product.
In December, Apple began taking orders for the new Mac Pro made in Austin, Texas. Not only are the Pros assembled in the U.S., says Apple CEO Tim Cook, they’re manufactured here as well:
We don’t want to just assemble the Mac Pro here, we want to make the whole thing here. This is a big deal.
6. Walmart announced its ‘Made in America’ push.
At the beginning of the year, Walmart pledged to invest an additional $50 billion in American-made products over the next 10 years. The retail giant followed up by holding a manufacturing summit on how to revive the American manufacturing sector. The irony practically begged a response. Here's AAM President Scott Paul:
This isn't the first time Bentonville has painted itself red, white, and blue. Thirty years ago it draped its stores in Buy America banners to show off the domestically sourced goods on its shelves - but this campaign ended abruptly after a Dateline investigation revealed much of the American-made merchandise actually came from low-cost Asian suppliers.
PR ploy or not, Walmart’s ‘Made in America’ push means something for American manufacturing.
And last but not least, 7. Maryland passed Buy American legislation.
The Maryland legislature passed Buy America bill (HB191) that creates a preference for American-made goods manufactured goods used in constructing or maintaining a public work or for machinery or equipment installed at a public work site. So. Cool.
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