Creating Manufacturing Jobs/Broadening a Domestic Supply Base: Jeff Immelt Alone is Not the Answer

Kudos to Bob Ferrari for picking up on President Obama's appointment of Jeff Immelt as the leader of an updated Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. We're generally fans of GE and Immelt's recent honest outburst at China and our President earned him points around our office. However, before sharing Bob's analysis and digging into what his appointment may mean for manufacturing jobs creation and a supply base expansion in the US, I first wanted to correct something Bob said. To wit, the Wall Street Journal is not "conservative" -- its editorial page is. In fact, we've read studies that suggest the main pages of the WSJ is more left leaning than the NYT based on the think tanks it most frequently cites.

Having put this aside -- and having forgiven Bob for coming from the state that brought us the Kennedys, John Kerry and Kitty Dukakis -- he captures a number of key points and subtleties of the recent announcement. For one, "the current council is to be focused with finding new ways to foster private sector job growth and building stronger White House and legislative relationships with the broader business community" rather than the old council that concerned itself more with high-level policy matters. More important, Bob succinctly captures the essence of the challenge Immelt, Obama and every leader -- and manufacturer -- must deal with in this country, noting, "corporations need to quickly move beyond the rhetoric and posturing to address some serious realities of why so many jobs have been lost and from where future job growth will come. That means some sacrifices for each stakeholder and perhaps additional needs for investment in infrastructure and capabilities."

It's time for all of us to own up to and answer some of the hard questions involving today's trade deficit and its impact on jobs, economic growth and overall manufacturing policy. For a collection of reading materials on many of the core issues impacting domestic manufacturing, global sourcing strategies, total cost models and trade issues, we'd encourage you to download the MetalMiner/Spend Matters Trade Policy Compendium. The free download highlights the best coverage from MetalMiner and Spend Matters on trade policy, risk minimization and total landed cost, offers real-world examples from the trade policy debate, and puts the big picture into focus, considering contrasting political viewpoints from a range of companies in its analysis.

- Jason Busch

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