We try to think positive here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) — but when it comes to jobs messaging put out by the White House last week, we find ourselves playing the role of Debbie Downer.
The White House sent an email on Friday afternoon proudly touting new data that finds the number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance is dropping. In fact, the White House wrote that last week that the four-week average of unemployment benefit claims hit its lowest level since 2006:
There’s no question about it: The economy is getting stronger thanks to the grit and resilience of American workers.
BUT … the White House also noted in its email that “there’s more work to do.”
And that’s the real heart of the story (we know — womp womp).
It is true that less people are filing for unemployment insurance than at the height of the Great Recession, and that is good news. But we still have a long way to go in order to recover the number of manufacturing jobs lost during that period.
There were 14.2 million manufacturing jobs in the United States in January 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In July 2014, there were roughly 12.1 million manufacturing jobs. That means more than 2 million manufacturing jobs need to be created in order for the United States to reach pre-recession levels of manufacturing employment.
And as our AAMeter shows, 805,000 new manufacturing jobs must still be created for President Obama to reach his goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term (which would still leave a deficit of more than 1 million jobs). There's A LOT of work left to do.
Womp womp, indeed.