But we’re still way down in a hole.
The United States added 26,000 factory jobs last month! That’s good!
But we’re still deep in a hole – a crater-sized hole left on employment by the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. The American economy has lost approximately 750,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector in the past six months. The official unemployment number, even after including the 1.8 million jobs created in July, is above 10 percent.
That’s beyond bad; that’s terrible.
Until we get a handle on COVID-19 and stop luxuriating in conspiracy theories, this gargantuan economic slump is going drag on. And job create is going to drag, right along with it.
None of this is helped, of course, by Congress and the Trump administration’s utter inability to get on the same page and pass a meaningful economic relief program. Federal unemployment insurance enacted in an earlier COVID-19 relief bill have been expired for a week now, and they’re still arguing about the details of their renewal.
In response to today’s job report, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul pointed out that these hundreds of thousands of factory layoffs “are becoming permanent rather than temporary” and larger economic stimulus like federal infrastructure spending remains entirely unaddressed:
The U.S. stands alone among developed nations with its massive job losses during the pandemic, but Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on extending basic relief measures such as unemployment insurance. Late last month, we sent policymakers concrete ideas on how to restore confidence in the economy and lay a solid foundation for manufacturing growth. We hope they continue to work towards solutions.”
AAM's recommendation is a full-fledged industrial policy, including a major infrastructure bill, expanded Buy America procurement rules, and a "whole of government" approach to restoring critical manufacturing capacity. These are ideas that will put a lot of people back to work — especially good ideas when there are 16 million long-term-unemployed people out there.