Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Yes, the economy has created manufacturing jobs. But we lost a heckuva lot of them first.

President Obama is out on the campaign trail, stumpin' near his political home base in Chicago. In a speech to students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, today the president touted his record of economic stewardship and pointed to what he called the “cornerstones” of a new prosperity laid under his watch.

You’re never gonna guess what made it in there.

Wait, did you guess the recent success of the manufacturing sector? Lucky guess. Here’s what the president said:

During the last decade, it was widely accepted that American manufacturing was in irreversible decline.  And just six years ago, its crown jewel, the American auto industry, could not survive on its own.  We helped our automakers restructure and retool, and today, they’re building and selling new cars at the fastest rate in eight years.  We invested in new plants, new technologies, and new high-tech hubs like the Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute that Northwestern has partnered with in Chicago.

And today, American manufacturing has added more than 700,000 new jobs.  It’s growing almost twice as fast as the rest of the economy.  And more than half of all manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. …

That’s progress we can be proud of.

The president isn’t fudging his numbers; America has gained 700,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010. But context is important: We lost about 5.5. million such jobs in the decade before that. What’s more, the president seems to have completely forgotten about the 1 million manufacturing jobs he pledged to help the economy create during his second term. Right now, America will need 28,821 manufacturing jobs every month if we’re to reach that goal by 2017.

Friday morning, the new jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will let us know how we’re doing on that goal.