November 12, 2013: The tiny rumblings of China's policy shifts

Posted by mmcmullan on 11/12/2013

Good morning,

Last week came the October jobs report, and while the results may have been roiled by the recent government shutdown, the data was decidedly positive for manufacturing employment. October saw +19,000 manufacturing jobs and significant positive revisions for manufacturing in previous months, to put the economy at +35,000 for the year to date. And while employment in the sector isn’t expanding fast enough to reach President Obama’s campaign promise of 1 million such jobs by the end of his second term, hey: progress is progress.

Forces outside of our economy will play a role in the health of American manufacturing, too; and here, we’re talking about China. China is the second largest economy in the world and is America’s biggest trading partner, even if that trade balance is incredibly skewed. So when the central planners from its ruling communist party get together to talk long-term economic policy, we should listen.

Now, nothing in China happens overnight. And the details of China’s just-concluded ‘Third Plenum’ remain sketchy -- we are talking about the unelected officials of an authoritarian state, here -- but it will be interesting to see what kind of reform Beijing is planning take shape in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Elsewhere around the web:

The economic recovery is on two tracks, writes Ben Casselman for the Wall Street Journal. On one track are those with jobs who have experienced some wage growth and job security. On the other: the young, less-educated, and unemployed who aren’t experiencing much of a recovery.

Sound familiar? Look no further than Lincoln, Illinois where unemployment remains higher than the national average and most of the jobs being created in the years after the economic recession are low-wage.

Jack Lew talks the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Germany is firing back at its critics -- including the Obama administration -- after being scolded for having too large of a trade surplus, reports Tim Devaney for the Washington Times. Germany’s response: Maybe the U.S. should try building its own surplus.

Update: Detroit’s Packard Plant may have a new owner. After a Texas doctor failed to make payments, reports David Muller for MLive. Bill Hults, an Illinois developer who now holds the winning bid, wants to transform the plant into a residential and entertainment complex. This story has been a rollercoaster ride, so we’ll see how well this developer fares in getting his full bid in to the Wayne County tax office. He’s got until Friday.

Another abandoned factory in Michigan, this one in Flint, is also up for renovation. American Cast Iron Pipe Co. is expected to build a manufacturing plant at the abandoned Buick City site. That’s good news for Flint: That former GM factory once employed 27,000 workers. Ron Fonger of the Flint Journal has the story.

The jobs report came out last week.

But there’s more to the monthly jobs report than just numbers. There are people behind the data, and their stories deserve to be heard. Do you have one to tell? Have you – or your friends, family, or neighbors – started looking for work recently? Have you stopped? Send in your jobs report to info [at] aamfg [dot] org, tweet it to us at @keepitmadeinUSA, or contact us via Facebook. And read the ever-updating report right here.

Happy belated Veterans Day, America. If you had a long weekend, we hope you had a chance to thank a vet.

-AAM

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