New report shows manufacturing is rebounding, but could use a legislative leg up

Posted by LDonia on 12/17/2013

Today, two Senate Democrats continued the push to shed congressional light on the manufacturing sector. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) released a report which shows the manufacturing sector rebounding and stresses the importance of legislative action to help the rebound gain momentum.

Coons previously spearheaded the Senate Democrats’ roll out of a manufacturing strategy. Released at the end of October, it was comprised of a host of bills intended to strengthen and grow the manufacturing sector by focusing on incentives for businesses, training for workers, and trade, among other priorities.

This new report, issued by the Joint Economic Committee of which Sen. Klobuchar is a vice chair, doesn’t provide a lot of new information. But it does serve as a comprehensive list of the successes we’ve seen in the manufacturing sector over the last several years.

From the press release:

(The manufacturing sector) has added over 500,000 jobs since February 2010 and exceeded its pre-recession peak for exports, up 38% since 2009.

This is true, and very important. And at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) there’s nothing we hate more than being a bunch of bummers, but we do think some context is important here: In October, U.S. imports hit the highest mark in at least a decade. So while it’s great that more American-made products are being used around the world, we’ll never decrease our trade deficit if our imports grow at an exponential rate.

But, again, the fact that we have champions in Congress paying attention to manufacturing is worthy of praise. And we know Klobuchar and Coons aren't alone. In 2013, we saw House Democrats release their own manufacturing strategy and bi-partisan groups in both chambers are advocating for a rule in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would curb the harmful practice of currency manipulation.

It seems clear that members of all parties understand the importance of a strong manufacturing base. We look forward to seeing what kind of legislation both chambers manage to pass in 2014.

File image of Senator Chris Coons at Senate Democrats' manufacturing roll-out in October 2013.

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