The road to a manufacturing renaissance is long and treacherous

Posted by LDonia on 12/28/2013

Reader: Your friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) are realists. So we won't send you into the world with an overly-optimistic picture of America's manufacturing health. Earlier today we shared five Made in America products that shatter the "We don't make anything here anymore" myth. But now we must temper your optimism. While it's true that some big companies are committing to American production, there are still some indicators that the road to a full-fledged manufacturing renaissance is long and fraught with peril.

Observe ...

Exhibit A: The AAMeter

You know what this is -- AAM's gauge of President Obama's progress toward fulfilling his campaign promise: 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2017. As of right now, only 63,000 new jobs have been created since his second term started. Sure, it's better than no jobs at all, and it's definitely better than jobs loss, but it's far off the mark needed to be on track to a cool million.

Exhibit B: The Trade Deficit

We could delve into this and truly analyze -- we could probably write about it for days, in fact -- but we won't. Let's keep this simple: America's 2013 year-to-date trade deficit with China of $267.0 billion is running ahead of 2012's year-to-date balance of $261.6 billion. If we don't start exporting more, and importing less, we won't see the influx of manufacturing jobs we'd all like to see.

Exhibit C: Pursuing a trade agreement without a currency rule

Our avid ManufactureThis readers know all about this, and we hate to beat a dead horse (we hate to beat any horse, really) but this one bears repeating. Majorities in both chambers of Congress want a rule to deal with currency manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They're not the only ones raising concerns about the TPP; so is the President of the United Steelworkers, American automakers, and economists. Yet when TPP negotiations wrapped for the year, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told Politico that the currency manipulation issue had not been raised during the trade talks. Great. Thanks, Mike.

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