September 20, 2013: Kansas City workers keep their eyes on the ball

Posted by mmcmullan on 09/20/2013

Good morning,

Friday has arrived, and President Obama is visiting a Ford plant in Liberty, Missouri where he’ll be meeting with workers away from the cameras. It’ll be a respite from the spending and borrowing showdown with Congress, writes Josh Lederman of the Associated Press, and a chance for him to make his case that we’d get a real economic revival going if only Washington’s warring factions could get on the same page.

On the ground outside at the Kansas City-area factory, though, the locals are focused on a more serious subject than another round of political sparring: Jobs.

Chris Oberholtz, Erika Tallan, and DeAnn Smith report for KCTV:

The (Ford plant’s expansion) is bringing 250 new jobs to the area to produce parts for the all-new Transit van, Liberty Mayor Lyndell Brenton said.

"Skilled jobs that are high-paying jobs, so that is a big boost to our economy, especially in a local economy at a time when we're starting to see some recovery," Brenton said.

Let’s not take our eyes off the ball, America. We need to support American businesses and the jobs they create. And America’s auto industry -- Ford included -- has told us one big way we can do it: By being hyper-vigilant in our upcoming trade deals. Read more about the Big Three’s wariness toward the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations here.

Elsewhere around the web:

Not too long ago we brought you an eye-opening manufacturing fact about the American garment industry. In the 1960's Clothing sold in the U.S. was largely made here, too. But that has dropped precipitously; only 3 percent of all clothing sold in the States is American-made.

Now, a small army of garment industry lobbyists have descended on Capitol Hill to make sure any TPP deal makes already-cheap goods even cheaper. Eric Bradner at Politico has a great story on the pressure a multitude of stakeholders are bringing to bear on lawmakers as the Obama administration’s trade representative, Michael Froman, weighs the TPP options.

The bacon is sizzling, everybody: The Committee on Foreign Investment has okayed the deal that will allow a Chinese pork producer to buy Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. But, writes William Mauldin in the Wall Street Journal, it isn’t pork politics that has American industry concerned:

U.S. critics say unfettered investment by China can bring financial risks to American companies and the national economy at large.

There’s a pretty decent uptick in Philly manufacturing. Bloomberg’s Jeanna Smialek reports:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index jumped to 22.3 this month from 9.3 in August. Readings greater than zero signal growth in the area, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Measures of orders, sales and factory employment increased at faster rates in September, while a gauge of the six-month outlook was the strongest in a decade.

And as for today’s manufacturing fact?

Don’t mess with Texas, indeed. Have a good day, everyone!

-AAM

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