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Raising the Alarm for US Manufacturing

February 05, 2018

[Steve Minter | February 2, 2018 | Industry Week ]

Rebuild Manufacturing (Coalition for a Prosperous America, 2017) starts off with a recounting of statistics that are familiar to many manufacturers but still shocking. The U.S. lost 5.86 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and early 2010, or roughly the populations of Chicago, Houston and Indianapolis combined. During that decade, the U.S. lost 57,000 manufacturing firms.

Throughout this period and for a considerable time before, educators and parents were watching (or experiencing) what was happening in manufacturing. The lesson they imparted to countless kids: Manufacturing has no future in the U.S. and neither will you if you choose a career in a factory.

Thanks to a long recovery beginning in the Obama administration and continuing in the Trump presidency, manufacturing is coming back, though that journey is far from over. Activists such as Nash-Hoff have helped turn the tide against the popular belief in Washington and other centers of economic thought that the U.S. had grown out of the need for manufacturing. It is increasingly clear that a vibrant manufacturing sector is crucial to a healthy and growing U.S. economy.


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  • Bruce Bishop
    While I admire Ms Nash-Hoff’s efforts, manufacturing is NOT coming back. There is no way we can compete with China’s cost advantage across all factors. The only way to bring back manufacturing would be to impose Warren Buffett’s “Balanced Trade.” You can Google it. The various spot tariffs are nothing more than swatting flies — and allowing the government to pick winners and losers. By forcing the trade balance toward zero, as Buffett recommended, we would allow the free market to pick winners and losers. Here is the link to Buffett’s original article in Fortune: http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/11/10/352872/index.htm
    This article was republished by Fortune in 2016.