Obama Administration hasn't forgotten the '1 million manufacturing jobs by 2016' promise.

Posted by LDonia on 01/14/2013

Yesterday, MIT Technology Review published Walter Frick’s article, Obama Push on Advanced Manufacturing Stirs Economic Debate, and it could not have done so at a better time.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has been anxiously gearing up for both President Obama’s second term, and the blueprint he sets forth for 2013 in his State of the Union speech. We’re hoping the president will keep his campaign promise, one Frick also cites, to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016; and that in his speech, the president will offer glimpses of how he plans to do so.

Frick indicates in his piece that, at the very least, the Administration is focused on the goal. Whether its proposals will make it past a divided, and overwhelmingly set-in-its-ways congress, remains to be seen.

Writes Frick:

To fulfill those promises, the White House is turning to an economic tool not seen in Washington for years: industrial policy.

Emboldened by a new cadre of advisors, the Obama administration has proposed policies to boost domestic manufacturing involving tax breaks, new R&D spending, and vocational training of two million workers including around advanced technologies like batteries, computing, aerospace, and robotics.

Frick mentions that past administration officials questioned the need for any kind of plan targeting manufacturers. However, that thinking has shifted noticeably.

It’s an entirely different school of thought that is now ascendant in the White House, one that argues that manufacturing, even though it employs only 9 percent of U.S. workers, plays an outsized role in the country’s economy. For instance, manufacturing companies carry out around two-thirds of all corporate R&D and file the most patents. There is evidence that factories may yield beneficial “spillovers” of knowledge that improve the broader economy. “Within this administration there’s been a reframing. The folks on the inner circles of the White House now are strikingly sympathetic to manufacturing and see it as critical,” says Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

AAM agrees, of course, that manufacturing is critical to the U.S. economy. We’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to researching this very topic. After analyzing many of these findings, we created a set of recommendations for a National Manufacturing Strategy.

We hope, in the interest of seeing a proliferation of “Made in the U.S.A.” labels soon and putting manufacturers back to work, the Obama Administration’s strategy looks similar or takes these items into account.

Read Frick's piece here.

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