September 19, 2013: Exports exports everywhere, but still no jobs to work

Posted by mmcmullan on 09/19/2013

Good morning,

A week of economic politicking from the White House rolls on. Today, President Obama will convene his advisory council on international trade to continue pursuing his campaign goal of doubling exports by 2015, reports the Associated Press.

So the administration is pushing hard to double exports, making good on a campaign promise but at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we're left wondering what good the doubled exports would be.

Here’s why: Increasing exports are great, but an increase won’t mean much if we don’t reduce our imports. Our trade balance is ridiculously out of whack: It was $540 billion in 2012, and $315 billion of that came from our deficit with China alone. Meanwhile, the president’s other campaign promise -- to see 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term -- seems to have fallen by the wayside. We’ve seen just 12,000 new manufacturing jobs since January, after losing millions during the Great Recession. Until we get that kind of middle-income employment back, the economy is going to continue to putter along, well below its potential.

Elsewhere around the web:

Well how about that: China is hinting at interest in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Adam Behsudi of Politico reports that at a briefing organized by the National Foreign Trade Council, reporters learned China is positioning itself it eventually join the TPP. Lawmakers have encouraged the administration to include currency manipulation provisions in the trade deal. If serial-manipulator China joins the TPP, including those provisions is more important than ever.

Boeing Co. plans to cut almost 3,000 jobs in Southern California. The airplane manufacturer is closing a facility in Long Beach that makes the C-17 Globemaster transport jet. The facility will close by 2015 due to shrinking military budgets, report Caroline Chen and Julie Johnsson for Bloomberg:

“Budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open,” Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive officer of Boeing’s defense unit, said in (a) statement. “Here in the United States the sequestration situation has created significant planning difficulties for our customers and the entire aerospace industry.”

The U.S. current account trade deficit fell to $98.9 billion in the second quarter of this year. That’s the lowest level since 2009, writes Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. The current account is the broadest measure of trade tracking the sale of goods and services and investment flows. Exports were up in the second quarter helping the economy grow at an annual rate of 2.5 percent, but imports of foreign-made auto and auto parts were up -- because, don’t forget, our goods trade deficit is still sky-high.

And to stick the landing, here’s another slick American manufacturing fact:

Did you know that mechanical watches only account for 10 percent of the worldwide watch market? We didn’t either. But Pennsylvania-based RGM keeps cranking them out:

Have a good day, everyone!

-AAM

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