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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Manufacturing employment has gone nowhere in 2015.

Item! The jobs report came out this morning. The economy added 271,000 jobs in October:

Item! There are now another 44,000 people working in retail:

Item! Manufacturing, meanwhile, has essentially flatlined. There were zero manufacturing jobs created last month, according to today's report. In fact, there have been no net manufacturing jobs created in 2015. So much for the President Obama manufacturing jobs promise.

 

Why is this happening? Well, let’s look at one heavy manufacturing sector: steel. In 2014, steel imports – much of it sold here at “dumped” prices or its price heavily subsidized – captured 28 percent of the U.S. market. In 2015, imports have inched even higher, above 30 percent.

Global steelmaking is in a state of overcapacity, meaning steel industries around the world are cranking out slabs whether there are customers for them or not. And the lion’s share of that steel is coming from China, which, thanks to generous government support, already produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined.

China’s domestic economic slowdown has been widely reported, meaning there is little domestic demand for so much steel.

So what do China’s steel mills do? Sell it in America – that’s “dumping” – at impossibly cheap prices.

And what does that mean for steelworkers in a market flooded by dumped goods? Jobs lost, up and down the supply chain.

Item! The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been made public in America, which means the Obama administration will be pressing Congress to approve it in the next few months.  

It’ll be interesting to see how that trade debate will play out, especially with manufacturing jobs numbers like the data we got today. Remember: The TPP is expected to make it even harder to manufacture in America.