September 30, 2013: Shutdown fight forgets all about bringing jobs back to America

Posted by mmcmullan on 09/30/2013

Happy Monday morning, America!

Economists reading the tea leaves over the weekend are forecasting a jobs report due at the end of the week that will be a teensy, eensy bit better than last month’s.

But all of their economic seances may be for naught, because it remains to be seen if that jobs report will even drop: The federal government is on schedule to shut down in a few hours because Washington can’t agree on how to pass a funding bill. We might not even have a jobs report while the government operates with only a skeleton crew.

Does a shutdown sound crazy and irresponsible? Yes. But that's the reality we're living in, and it could cause serious problems, writes Ben White at Politico. If you’ve been keeping track of the progress on President Obama’s campaign pledge to help create one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term, as we have with our trusty #AAMeter, you’ll know that we’re way off pace. The economy has only produced 12,000 of these jobs since January. To get back on track, we’ll need 24,700 more in September, and every month after, but don’t hold your breath for that kind of rebound ... especially with the serious hiccup that a government shutdown would cause.

While we wait for DC’s political class to stop playing risky games with our nation’s economic health, let’s see what’s happening elsewhere around the web:

A new report says China’s manufacturing sector grew slower than expected last month. And the manufacturing sector in Japan slowed in August as well, writes the Associated Press’ Ken Moritsugu, though the government expects the sector to accelerate in the coming months. If the world’s second- and third-largest economies took a hit in manufacturing, what does that mean for numero uno?

A bit of good news: The American textile and apparel industries are hiring stateside again, reports Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times. But many manufacturers are having a hard time filling positions:

Because the industries were decimated over the last two decades — 77 percent of the American work force has been lost since 1990 as companies moved jobs abroad — manufacturers are now scrambling to find workers to fill the specialized jobs that have not been taken over by machines. …

“It withered away and nobody noticed,” Jen Guarino, a former chief executive of the leather-goods maker J. W. Hulme, said of the skilled sewing work force. “Businesses stopped investing in training; they stopped investing in equipment.”

We’ve seen programs, some state and some local, that have stepped up to fill the gaps that have appeared in our workforce’s readiness. But we need more. Other countries that have lost out on manufacturing jobs over the years are making a concerted attempt to bring them back. The French government, for instance, is pushing the Made In France brand hard, writes Joelle Diderich at Women’s Wear Daily (subscription required, unfortunately!).

We're of the opinion that America should do the same with a coordinated national manufacturing strategy. And how about that? We’ve got one laid out right here.

And now a manufacturing fact celebrating the great Hoosier state:

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is presenting Huddle, Politico’s weekday morning newsletter that previews what’s happening every morning on Capitol Hill. Click here to sign up and get it in your email.

Hope you have a good one, America. Here’s to hoping Washington avoids a costly shutdown today.


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