September 11, 2013: Check out this high-tech Fort Worth factory without leaving your chair!

Posted by LDonia on 09/11/2013

Good morning,

It’s the 12-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Go out and thank a first-responder for his or her service today.

So what’s going on in the world of manufacturing today?

Web giant Google is getting into the smartphone game, and it’s doing so not overseas but deep in the heart of Texas. That’s the story from Wailin Wong in this morning’s Chicago Tribune, which takes a tour through a Motorola plant in Fort Worth where workers will assemble the company’s first big product since Google bought it up.

But what does a new smartphone factory in the Lone Star State say about the wider push to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States? Here’s Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul:

On a macro level, the situation hasn't changed. But from a business decision level and a managerial perspective, the equation has changed a bit. We'll see more results of that in five or 10 years than we will today. There's a lot of things that could go awry. … But the arc does seem (headed) toward more production in the United States.

And -- this being a Google factory, after all -- don’t forget to check out the “street view” of the factory, via Google Maps.

Elsewhere around the web:

At its annual convention, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution that made clear it would fight back against a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal if the trade agreement fails to benefit workers, reports Adam Behsudi at Politico. One good way to help American workers? Write in a rule that would punish currency manipulation by all parties to the agreement.

In 1982, the Dow Jones industrial average added American Express, points out Binyamin Appelbaum at the New York Times.

It’s as good a moment as any to mark the arrival of finance and services as our dominant economic sectors. Three decades later, for better and worse, we are living with the consequences.

Hmm. Here’s one consequence of the shrinking of the American manufacturing sector and the middle-class jobs it provided: New economic research released this month finds that the income gap over the last 30 years has expanded, not narrowed -- evidenced by income gains going to the wealthiest one percent from 2009-2012, reports Brenda Cronin at the Wall Street Journal.

China’s edge in the solar panel market isn’t an abundance of cheap labor, a new report says; its cheap supply chain is, reports Pete Danko at Breaking Energy. That may be true, but don’t forget that China cornered that market by providing massive subsidies to its domestic solar industry.

Today: check out Nanette Lepore’s spring 2014, New York Fashion Week show today at 11am. Ms. Lepore will be, as always, keeping it 'Made in the USA.'

And lastly, time for another awesome American manufacturing fact:

Chicago’s Cloud Gate art installation in Millenium Park -- better known as “the Bean” -- was fabricated in Oakland, California and assembled in the Windy City.

Pretty sweet bean, Chicago. Happy Wednesday, everyone!


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