Jobs

Millions of manufacturing jobs disappeared during the last decade. But America is primed to rebound.

More than 6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs vanished between 1998 and 2010. These middle-class jobs provided workers with a good way of life and, with their loss, entire communities have been devastated. And while the broader economy is showing signs of recovery, manufacturing continues to struggle. President Obama set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs during his second term, but progress has been slow. To get there, America needs a robust manufacturing strategy – one that includes strong trade enforcement, investments in American workers and our public infrastructure, and a plan to stop currency manipulation. On a level playing field, American workers can compete with anyone. Will we give them one?

Manufacturing Jobs Matter to America

What can we do to increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States? It starts with creating a level playing field for manufacturing workers to compete.

Resources

Infrastructure

Robust infrastructure investment can drive employment and boost America's national competitiveness.

Nationwide, more than 70,000 bridges are structurally deficient. Our roads, railways, and transit systems are relics of the past. Yet Congress is neglecting its responsibilities by failing to make rebuilding America’s infrastructure a top priority. With each passing day, our infrastructure deficit deepens – and the costs of bringing existing assets back to adequate condition grow larger and more difficult to tackle. Passing a long-term infrastructure bill is not just practical, but an employment and a national competitiveness issue, too. The benefits to America’s manufacturing sector would be significant, and by applying strong Buy America preferences, we can maximize the benefits for American workers. We can’t put off rebuilding our infrastructure any longer. Rebuild America. Buy American.

Infrastructure Development is the Key to Growth

It is time for the President and Congress to work together and pass a long-term spending plan to repair and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Resources

American Security

America’s national security depends on a strong defense industrial base.

Since 1791, American leaders have made the connection between domestic manufacturing and a strong national defense. But that connection is now at risk.

More than 63,000 U.S. factories have closed since 2001. This erosion of industry has left America with a questionable ability to respond quickly to threats and catastrophes. Through a combination of disregard and unorganized policy responses to global economic challenges, we’ve allowed our defense industrial base – the companies that make the supplies, hardware, and weapons our armed forces use to keep our country safe – to fall into disrepair.

This neglect comes at serious cost to our security. But with a national strategy to rebuild U.S. industry, this security can be recovered. Will lawmakers set one in place?

The Facts

As our supply chains have moved offshore and our critical infrastructure has crumbled, our nation’s security has been weakened.

American Security Must be American-Made

Without a strong manufacturing sector, America can’t provide for its own defense or respond quickly to disasters. That makes addressing the health of our industrial base a serious national security issue.

Resources

Trade

When foreign countries cheat, trade laws are the last line of defense for U.S. manufacturers and workers.

Unfair trade practices like dumping, export subsidies, and currency manipulation drove the loss of more than 6.1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs from 1998 to 2010. Today, there is no greater threat to the resurgence in American manufacturing than widening trade deficits and unfair trade practices that go unchecked.

New trade agreements must give American workers and businesses tools to aggressively push back against unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, and create a level playing field. Trade agreements already on the books must be strictly enforced. And we need our policymakers to develop and implement a plan to end our trade deficit in manufactured goods, which directly threatens a potential resurgence for American manufacturing.

The Facts

Millions of jobs have been lost and more than 63,000 factories have shuttered since 2000 due to unfair foreign trade.

It’s Time to Level the Playing Field

Unfair foreign trade hurts American workers and businesses. It is essential that Washington works to guarantee that U.S. manufacturers can fairly compete at home and abroad.

Resources

Workforce

It's time to modernize our talent pipeline to support American workers, manufacturing's greatest asset.

The U.S. must strip off the rust that neglect has left on its vocational education system. But many are instead content to point fingers: at kids, for not realizing the benefits of a manufacturing career; at schools, for not focusing enough on STEM education; at pop culture, for portraying factories as desolate; or at our nation’s leaders and counselors, for suggesting that a four-year degree is the only path to success. But assigning blame won’t prepare a workforce. A strong economy is essential to attracting more to manufacturing careers. But there are other policy proposals that could support the work that community colleges, vocational high schools, labor-business partnerships, and apprenticeship programs are doing to prepare the workforce of the future. Will we follow best practices and institute them?

The Facts

Create the jobs, and they will come: Given the tools needed to succeed, America’s manufacturing workforce can rebound.

Our Workers and their Skills Drive our Economy

Public policies must provide opportunities for new jobs and a system of training and skills to support them.

Resources

Innovation

Public policy should invest more in research and development to create cutting-edge manufacturing jobs.

From Carnegie’s steel mills to Boeing’s Dreamliners, America’s drive to discover and make the next big thing has propelled our economy for decades. And vice versa. Manufacturing is our nation’s leading buyer of technology, accounts for 90 percent of all new patents, and 70 percent of private-sector research and development.

Fostering that innovative edge is an investment in our economic future. But pro-innovation policies must translate into jobs for American workers. Public-private innovation hubs are being created across the U.S., each with an industrial specialty. Federal R&D tax incentives that spur innovation should require the manufacturing of the resulting products to occur in America. Will we enact smart policies that maintain innovation and manufacturing in the U.S.?

The Facts

The U.S. expertly encourages innovation. But we need more. And we aren’t reaping the full benefits of our commitment to R&D.

Innovation Can Drive New American Jobs

To restore American leadership in manufacturing, public investment in industrial research and development must be robust and directed to create factory jobs in the United States.

Resources

Tax Reform

The tax code can help keep jobs here at home or ship them abroad. Let's do it right.

As Congress considers changing the corporate tax code, we must make sure manufacturers don’t end up paying for a tax cut tailored for Wall Street and Walmart. Manufacturing is the foundation of our economic strength and faces unique global competition. For corporate tax reform to encourage prosperity and growth, manufacturers must be able to quickly recover the costs of their capital investments, have the flexibility to weather the natural ups and downs of the business cycle, and have the certainty to locate production in the U.S. for the long-term. Our tax code has the power to reshape our economy. Let’s make sure it strengthens our manufacturing sector.

The Facts

Do no harm. Changes to the tax code could help U.S. manufacturers — or hurt their chances for success.

Tax Reform Must Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness

Smart tax policies help manufacturers invest, produce, and compete in the United States. Tax reform can help grow our economy by preserving incentives that keep production here in America.

Resources

Buy America

Buying U.S.-Made Goods Creates American Jobs and Boosts our Economy

When American workers get the first shot at supplying the steel needed for a bridge project or battlefield equipment for our troops, they’re always up to the challenge. And since 1933, Buy America laws have ensured that at least some of our hard-earned tax dollars are reinvested in the U.S. economy.

But loopholes in these laws mean that some tax dollars go to foreign goods – leaving U.S. workers out in the cold. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, for example, ducked Buy America laws, using foreign steel instead – and created 3,000 jobs. In China.

Fortunately, Congress – backed by bipartisan support from voters – is working to improve Buy America laws. Dozens of states are considering similar legislation. And more consumers are reading the labels on the goods they purchase. That’s Buying America.

The Facts

Buy America preferences are popular, common-sense policies.

Buy America Creates Jobs

By giving American companies and workers the first shot at procurement for America’s public works projects, we can instantly boost job creation in the United States. That’s why Buy America works.

Resources