President Obama’s Manufacturing Job Legacy

Obama created 315,000 manufacturing jobs during his second term

President Barack Obama is set to give his farewell address in Chicago Tuesday night. His focus is rumored to be on the nation's future, but for many, his efforts to support America's manufacturing base will be remembered.

Over the past four years, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) used the #AAMeter to track Obama's goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs. It now sits at +315,000 jobs. Overall, manufacturing lost 575,000 jobs during the Obama administration, compared to a loss of 4.3 million manufacturing jobs during the presidency of George W. Bush. Manufacturing has added 822,000 jobs since the end of the last recession.

Said AAM President Scott Paul:

"As Barack Obama’s presidency comes to a close, there is no doubt that his efforts shone a light on manufacturing and its value to the nation. I still vividly recall his 2012 State of the Union address, which put manufacturing front and center.

"While President Obama wasn’t able to make his goal of 1 million new factory jobs, the fact that hundreds of thousands of new jobs were created shows that manufacturing job growth is possible with the right policy and implementation.

"President Obama's aim was to save and create jobs, and he did so through the 2009 Recovery Act, which contributed to manufacturing's growth. He also deserves far more credit for the success of the auto industry rescue, given that the auto industry has been one of the American manufacturing bright spots. His administration has laid a strong foundation by creating a network of innovation and industrial apprenticeships.

"But we can, and should, create more opportunities.

"President-elect Donald Trump has promised to make manufacturing job creation a priority and he can do so through infrastructure investment that includes strong Buy America provisions, strict enforcement of U.S. trade laws, and tax reform that puts American jobs first.

"It is a crucial time for American manufacturers and by creating smart policies, some factory jobs can come back home."

Throughout his eight years in office, Obama took some bold steps to boost manufacturing, including:

The Auto Rescue: Obama’s controversial decision to move ahead with the auto rescue, begun under President George W. Bush, was a bold move. It also was the right one. It saved hundreds of thousands of middle-class manufacturing jobs and laid the foundation for a strong domestic auto industry.

Trade Enforcement: The Obama administration has been willing to take significant action to enforce America’s trade laws. The Commerce Department regularly issued antidumping and countervailing duties against imports dumped into the U.S. market, ranging from everything from steel to tires to washing machines. Doing so helped to level the playing field for American workers and allowed some American companies to better compete on the global stage.

The Economic Stimulus and Infrastructure Spending: It wasn’t as big as some might have hoped for, including Obama himself, but the stimulus did invest money into much-needed infrastructure projects throughout the country. Obama also signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, the $305 billion measure that was the first long-term surface transportation bill in a decade.  

Manufacturing USA: Previously known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, Manufacturing USA is a collection of public-private partnerships located throughout the country that are designed to work to “secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education and collaboration.” There are now 13 institutes working on developing cutting-edge technology and training American workers, bringing together government, academia and the private sector. The government’s $920 million investment has been matched by $1.87 billion in private funds, ensuring that the network’s work will continue long-term.