October 1, 2013: Shutdown City

Posted by mmcmullan on 10/01/2013

Good morning,

Well there you have it, folks: Senate Democrats wouldn’t budge, House Republicans didn’t get a delay to the Affordable Care Act, and the federal government didn’t get the spending bill it needs to operate. That means many government employees -- not all of them, and not those deemed “essential” -- but a good number are staying home today.

Okay. So who’s essential? This handy guide from Wonkblog names a few groups; the military will maintain its posts, embassies abroad will remain open, and the mail will be delivered. Congress is open for business (and its members will be paid) too. The congressional gym and the congressional shoe-shine stand, however, will not be.

Nor will the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means no jobs report on Friday, write Victoria Stilwell and Julianna Goldman for Bloomberg. Economists are expecting that September saw about 180,000 new jobs created, but how many of those will be in manufacturing? Our #AAMeter shows we’ve had five-straight months of manufacturing job loss before a slight rebound occurred in August -- but we’re going to need an even bigger bump if we’re going to get back on the road toward President Obama’s goal of one million manufacturing jobs by 2017. Don’t hold your breath for an uptick; as long as Washington continues to take some time off from serious work to instead focus on theatrics, improvements to our economy will have to take the back burner.

Elsewhere around the web:

$37 billion. That’s the total of wages lost in 2011 to our trade deficit with China, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). In the decade after China joined the World Trade Organization, writes Katie Holliday for CNBC, 2.7 million American jobs have been lost, mainly in the manufacturing sector. You can check out the EPI report here.

Nope, it’s not something ripped from your favorite episode of Star Trek: NASA is planning to send a 3-D printer into space. Martha Mendoza of the Associated Press reports that the machine will serve a flying factory that will create small satellites, replacement parts and rocket pieces. This is as awesome as it sounds, and those involved in the project think so too:

"Any time we realize we can 3-D print something in space, it's like Christmas," said inventor Andrew Filo, who is consulting with NASA on the project. "You can get rid of concepts like rationing, scarce or irreplaceable."

Congress might be getting nothing done, but negotiators are continuing to haggle over details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. American and Japanese brokers, representatives of the two largest participants in the TPP, met in Tokyo ahead of the wider trade meetings scheduled to take place in Bali next week to discuss automobiles and trade barriers, says a story from the Japan Times. For their part, American automakers want to see Japan held accountable for manipulating its currency before the U.S. signs any deal, as does a majority of the U.S. Senate.

But what about today’s awesome manufacturing fact, you ask?

Hopefully, we don’t kill this trend with a trade deal that undermines the American auto industry.

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