November 15, 2013: the wrap-up of POTUS visit edition

Posted by LDonia on 11/15/2013

Top o’ the Friday morning to you,

Yesterday afternoon President Obama visited the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland to discuss manufacturing’s role in the U.S. economy. As you can imagine, your friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) were excited to hear what the POTUS would say. AAM President Scott Paul even attended the event.

The POTUS, as it turns out, went for style over substance:

Over the last 44 months, our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs. Last month, another 200,000 Americans went back to work. And a lot of those jobs are in manufacturing. ...Because we’ve been willing to do some hard things, not just kick the can down the road, factories are reopening their doors, businesses are hiring new workers, companies that were shipping jobs overseas, they’re starting to talk about bringing those jobs back to America.

As avid ManufactureThis readers probably know, that picture the President painted is pretty rosy. The reality? Hiring in the manufacturing sector had all but stalled until last month when we saw a slight uptick. And still, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will revise those numbers over the coming months, so they aren’t yet set in stone. The point? Even with that small bounce, we’ve only seen a net gain of 35K manufacturing jobs this year, meaning the President needs to find a way to create 965,000 more jobs over the next 38 months to keep his promise of one million new manufacturing jobs in his second term. There are steps he could take on his own to bolster job growth in the sector. We hoped to hear him discuss that yesterday, but alas, he did not.

Here’s some irony: one of the aforementioned things President Obama can do, on his own, to help American manufacturing -- declare China a currency manipulator. Forcing China to follow trade rules would help reduce America’s trade deficit. A trade deficit that recently grew quite a bit. In September imports hit the highest level in ten months and exports slowed down. Can you guess what that means? If you said “an all-time record deficit with China” then you’re correct. To the tune of $30.5 billion, in fact.

Writes Martin Crutsinger at the AP:

Thursday's report shows that exports rose at a slower pace than the government estimated when it issued its report on third-quarter growth last week. That could wipe out trade's contribution to growth, economists say, and lead the government to reduce its estimate of third quarter growth.

We’re hoping President Obama takes heed of the concerns of bipartisan groups of legislators in both chambers and your friends here at AAM and gets tough on China.

And speaking of China, following a major policy meeting last week, it looks like China may be shaking up its financial sector, reports Richard Silk for the Wall Street Journal. China will tackle interest rate reform and ... wait for it:

China will also “improve” the mechanism for setting the exchange rate, the document said, without elaborating. China’s intervention in foreign exchange markets has been a source of friction with the United States, where some lawmakers have campaigned for the country to be labeled a “currency manipulator.”

We won’t hold our hold our breath but as we know China reacts to political pressure when it comes to currency manipulation.

ICYMI: Yesterday AAM’s Brian Lombardozzi hosted a Google+ Hangout with Stacey Jarrett Wagner, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Sridhar Kota, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. Topics ranges from tech shops and workforce development to the Iron Man movies. You can check out the whole hangout here.

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 Friday, America. Enjoy your weekend!

-AAM

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