September 16, 2013: 5 years since Lehman collapse, 65,605 structurally deficient US bridges, and 700 laid off employees

Posted by LDonia on 09/16/2013

Good morning,

Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, which set into motion the global financial crisis of 2008. What better way to mark the occasion than a weeklong focus on the economy from the White House! President Obama is scheduled to speak from the Rose Garden today at 11:30 a.m. EST, and is expected to tout policies like the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that saved the auto industry, the $800 million stimulus, and new banking regulations. But the public remains unconvinced that the recovery is for real, writes Jim Kuhnhenn for the Associated Press:

But the public is not convinced that the economy is on the mend. Only one-third say the economic system is more secure now than in 2008, and 52 percent say they disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

Elsewhere around the web:

65,605. That’s the number of American bridges classified as “structurally deficient” in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory, according to an analysis by Joan Lowy and Mike Baker for the Associated Press. 20,808 are considered “fracture critical.” Of the more than 600,000 structures listed, 7,795 were listed as both -- a combination that experts say indicate significant risk of collapse. That’s an awful lot of shaky bridges. According to a 2012 report from yours truly at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), shoring up our infrastructure goes hand in hand with our ability to respond to natural disasters and national security risks.

The world’s leading computer-chip maker, Intel, is set to close a manufacturing plant in Massachusetts and lay off 700 employees. The closing is a blow to the Deval Patrick administration, which has been trying to build up high-tech manufacturing in the state, reports Hiawatha Bray for the Boston Globe:

High-tech manufacturing accounts for nearly one in every three factory jobs in Massachusetts, and many of those pay high wages — $80,000 a year or more, according to a recent Northeastern University report on the sector. And the Intel jobs would be at the higher end of the industry scale.

Even as orders and shipments increased for the New York region, manufacturing expanded less than forecasted, writes Victoria Stilwell for Bloomberg. A New York and Philadelphia Fed report provides a clue into the Institute for Supply Management figures due out Oct. 1.

In an announcement the U.S. government called “disappointing,” China said it is preparing tariffs on solar material from certain American companies, reports Michael Martina for Reuters. The huge Chinese solar industry (which was grown with massive subsidies itself) imports a large amount of solar-grade polysilicon to make its solar products. Ironically, European solar companies have accused China of “dumping” solar products in their markets putting many of them out of business.

And now, for today’s totally tubular manufacturing fact:

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island across the mouth of New York Harbor, is the longest suspension bridge in the United States.


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