"Manufacturing puches above its weight," says Obama's economist

Posted by mmcmullan on 07/25/2013

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to President Obama for economic policy, spoke this morning at a forum hosted by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. The event, titled “Manufacturing U.S. Prosperity: A Policy Discussion,” was centered on public policy’s role in supporting manufacturing for future growth of the economy.

Sperling’s address, tailored to support the president’s series of public events focused on the economy (the first of which was yesterday’s speech in Galesburg, Illinois), highlighted both the importance of manufacturing to the wider economy and putting policy in place that can help the sector prosper.

“Manufacturing punches above its weight in areas that we usually agree have larger benefits for the economy,” Sperling said.

He also touched on particular points, such as encouraging research and development in the U.S. and the spillover benefits generated for the location and country in which manufacturing activity occurs. Additionally, Sperling stressed the importance of a dynamic analysis that takes trends into consideration to determine if a “manufacturing renaissance” is possible.

Sperling was an important player in representing the White House in budget negotiations with Congress and constructing several of the President’s economic initiatives, including the American Jobs Act. He has in the past conveyed the Obama administration’s views on the importance of a commitment to manufacturing.

Sperling’s speech, the recent piece of rhetoric from the administration on this subject, is promising sustenance for the manufacturing sector. But we hope this revived focus will spur more than just attention. We are looking forward to hearing more specific policy points, hopefully to be addressed in the near future, that lead to substantial action by the administration. More explicit proposals are essential if we’re going to come anywhere close to fulfilling Obama’s promise of creating 1 million manufacturing jobs and a broader economic recovery.

Post researched and written by Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) intern Jaclyn Knell.

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