I came across an interesting graph at the always outstanding Alliance for American Manufacturing blog.
Now, if you looked at the right hand side of the graph, you might say, “not bad!” Last month the U.S. gained 16,000 jobs in manufacturing. This year, we have gained 136,000 manufacturing jobs and since the beginning of 2010 we have added 488,000 manufacturing jobs. Man, we are on a roll! You might be saying, “why is Briggs always blathering on the need to buy American in order to create jobs? That dullard is behind the times!”
But if you look to the left hand side of the graph, you might not be so heartened. In 2001, nearly 17.5 million members of our extended American family had jobs in the manufacturing sector. Today, even with the gains over the last two years, less than 12 million Americans are employed in the manufacturing sector. 5.5 million good jobs in manufacturing lost. What can explain these job losses? Well we know one thing: in 2001 China joined the WTO and became available as an export platform for U.S. firms making everything from shoes to toasters. And as a result, U.S. firms began engaging in a campaign of offshoring of jobs to China. It is estimated that our trade deficit with the Middle Kingdom between 2001 and 2010 alone led to the loss of 2.8 million U.S. manufacturing jobs. As you know, we also have run up trade deficits with many other nations such as Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, Korea, you name it.
So, what can we do about this loss of manufacturing jobs? I know I am probably already sounding rather like a broken record on this, but we can do our part by buying American made goods, thereby creating demand for employment in our, as opposed to China’s, manufacturing sector. The next time something needs replacing, be it a broom, a belt, a shirt, a car or a dryer, give serious thought to buying an American product. Together, we can have a huge impact on job creation in this country by this simple act. Now get shopping?