This morning, the Department of Labor announced that America's manufacturing sector added a mere 6,000 jobs in February, with significant downward revisions for January. Additionally, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that America's trade deficit with China rose substantially in January.
Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul:
"Across America, there are returning veterans, long-term unemployed looking for opportunities, and young people just getting their start in the working world who would love a career in manufacturing.
"But there wasn't a lot of good news for the real economy in this morning's jobs report. Thanks to downward revisions in December and January, it's fair to say hiring in manufacturing has stalled. And it's not solely weather-related. Trade data released this morning tells part of the story: a large $39.1 billion trade deficit in January, including $27.8 billion with China alone.
"While the Administration's new manufacturing hubs will likely give a boost to hiring, those benefits are years down the road. Congress and the Administration can and should take some concrete steps right now, and they should start with trade.
"Passing bipartisan legislation to deter currency manipulation would give an immediate boost to job creation. The Administration can designate China as a currency manipulator and insist that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement include enforceable currency disciplines. Taking those steps means we will export more and reduce our dependence on subsidized imports, and we'll expand payrolls here at home.
"We also need to rebuild. The president's budget includes a boost for infrastructure. But the Highway Trust Fund will run out of cash later this summer. Congress must step up and pass an infrastructure bill that allows us to not only repair what needs to be fixed but also to modernize our transportation hubs and systems. That will create construction and manufacturing jobs.
"Voters want a jobs agenda: Investing in job training and community colleges will provide more career pathways; Investing in infrastructure and slashing the trade deficit to dramatically expand the opportunities available to all. But Congress still seems tone deaf.
"With the final revisions in, 2013 was the weakest year for hiring in manufacturing since the end of the recession. That's not a resurgence."
Some specifics from this morning:
- While the U.S. manufacturing sector gained 6,000 jobs in February, America has added only 100,000 manufacturing jobs so far in President Obama's second term.
- America's goods trade deficit with China rose to $27.8 billion in January 2014, up from $24.5 billion in December 2013.
- Overall, the U.S. international goods and services trade deficit was $39.1 billion in January 2014, up from $39.0 billion in December 2013.
- The U.S. trade deficit with Japan declined to $5.3 billion in January 2014, from $6.0 billion in December 2013.
A trivia note about today's reports: This month's jobs and trade reports came out on the same day. That last happened almost exactly two years ago, on March 9, 2012.
How can President Obama create 5.8 million jobs in the U.S. with the stroke of a pen? Name China as a currency manipulator Read more.
President Obama set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term. To follow the president's progress, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) maintains a manufacturing jobs tracker, the #AAMeter, based on monthly jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).