Reuters is reporting that there are some industries that are rebounding from the so-called “China Shock” of the first decade of the 2000s, where the U.S. economy lost almost a third of its manufacturing jobs.
Small communities like Hickory, North Carolina had once been hubs for furniture manufacturing, but were hit so hard that they basically retreated from their bread and butter industries. The local community college even shuttered its courses in furniture production.
Well, things are looking up for the Hickory metro area, which added more than 2,800 manufacturing jobs since 2010, and furniture manufacturers nationally have added 30,000 jobs over the past five years, says Reuters.
To boot, rust belt states, such as Michigan, Indiana and Ohio have been adding manufacturing jobs faster than the economy as a whole. Michigan, for example, which lost nearly half of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009, has since then seen a 25 percent rise, which is well above the 4 percent gain nationally.
These are pretty heartwarming stats, but are they an indicator that we are really winning the war?
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has held President Obama accountable for a promise he made during his 2012 run to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term. Obama is still less than halfway there and AAM is, at this point, calling the goal “out of reach.”
Likewise, some experts are saying that trying to regain all 5 million jobs that were lost between 2000 and 2014 is impossible. Did you know that the Economic Policy Institute claims that 3.6 million of those jobs were actually lost pre-recession, because of growing trade deficits in manufactured goods?
Which brings us back to China.
We spend so much time talking about taxation and wage rates as a reason manufacturing is being outsourced, but such a huge component of these job losses, says EPI, is the fact that a trade deficit reduces the demand for U.S. manufactured goods. So if we want to create jobs, we’re going to have to stop buying made-in-China, and start buying made-in-America.