As the US continues to emerge from the Great Recession, there is an urgent need to look beyond Silicon Valley and support high-tech -- or “advanced” -- industries across the country in order to boost sluggish economic growth and reduce economic inequality, according to Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings who directs the Metropolitan Policy Program, which conducted the study.
The number of manufacturing workers in China continued on a massive, historic, upward trajectory through 2013, the latest year for which data is available. While the number of manufacturing workers in the United States fell by 2,952,000 from 2002 through 2013, the number of manufacturing workers in China surged by an incredible 27,696,736, according to data compiled from China by The Conference Board.
The Obama administration selected a Los Angeles group Monday to lead an effort aimed at making manufacturing companies more competitive globally by helping them consume less energy and produce less pollution.The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition in Los Angeles will receive $70 million from the federal government to establish the ninth of 15 "manufacturing hubs" that President Barack Obama wants set up across the country.
Speaking before business leaders at the annual SelectUSA Summit in Washington, Obama said a coalition of 200 partners will receive $140 million in public and private funding to "radically improve" the efficiency of manufacturing by developing smart sensor and digital technologies that dramatically cut waste, save energy and streamline manufacturing processes.
We are seeing continued progress in technological innovation, yet anemic productivity growth. A big reason is that public and private investment have fallen in the last decade. It’s time for serious pro-investment policies.
So why have we not seen the strong productivity growth we need? As explained in the recent ITIF e-book Think Like an Enterprise: Why Nations Need Comprehensive Productivity Strategies, there is solid research suggesting that the slowdown is not a cyclical phenomenon, nor is it because we are measuring output incorrectly.
Now researchers, politicians and business leaders are coming forward with strategies to accelerate job gains and investment in manufacturing. Their ideas range from pruning regulations that raise the cost and effort of running a manufacturing operation to imposing a value-added tax on imports to beefing up training programs so companies have an easier time finding skilled workers. Reviving the manufacturing sector won’t be easy -- but, these advocates argue, it’s crucial.
On Wednesday, the department's International Trade Administration, which has conducted an investigation into the "dumping" of steel products into U.S. markets, said it had found the "dumping of imports of corrosive-resistant steel (CORE) products from China, India, Italy, Korea and Taiwan" by various steel producers that it named within those countries.
Niobium -- named for a Greek goddess who became a symbol of the tragic mourning mother -- is used to produce stronger, lighter steel for industrial pipes and aircraft parts. It is mined in only three places on Earth, and the price of every kilogram is seven times higher than copper. China Molybdenum Co. outmaneuvered at least 15 companies last month to purchase Anglo American Plc’s niobium and phosphate unit in Brazil, agreeing to pay $1.5 billion, or 50 percent more than the valuation by some analysts.
Manufacturing may be facing some headwinds, but it’s undeniably in the midst of a technological renaissance that is transforming the look, systems, and processes of the modern factory. Despite the risks -- and despite recent history -- industrial manufacturing companies cannot afford to ignore these advances. By embracing them now, they can improve productivity in their own plants, compete against rivals, and maintain an edge with customers who are seeking their own gains from innovation.