Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm, in Union Matters
Four years ago, American factories were closing at an alarming rate. By 2008, manufacturing had experienced a decade of brutal losses, during which more than 55,000 American facilities closed, and the millions of middle class jobs these plants supported were shipped overseas. As more and more jobs were offshored, the prevailing mentality in Washington was that this was an inevitable trend that the federal government could do nothing to reverse.
Now, in contrast, President Obama is actively challenging this fatalist mindset. He believes that a resurgence in American manufacturing is possible, and he’s taking an active role in making it happen. Obama has made onshoring–bringing offshored American facilities back to the United States–a key component of his economic plan. Results clearly linked to Obama’s policies include American exports topping $2 trillion for the first time ever in 2011 and the economy adding over the past four years more than half a million manufacturing jobs, reversing a decade-long trend of losses.
To encourage companies to invest in domestic production, President Obama worked to reduce the amount of time and money it takes to open facilities in the United States. This included tax cuts, like the provision he signed in 2011 that allowed companies to write off the complete costs of investments in domestic plants and equipment. It also involved streamlining bureaucracy that often slows doing business in the United States. For example, to attract both foreign and American companies, Obama signed an executive order creating SelectUSA, an agency housed in the Department of Commerce assigned to eliminate investment barriers and facilitate growth.
In response to the Obama administration’s sustained commitment to American manufacturing, onshoring is beginning to grow, and companies of all sizes are bringing their facilities back to the United States. This includes mom-and-pop operations like Pop Outerwear, a small company that makes snowboarding equipment. It moved its facilities from China to the Bay Area in 2011. It also includes footwear, a notoriously offshored product. In 2010, KEEN, a fast-growing shoe manufacturer based in Portland, Ore., moved production of its line of work boots from China to a new factory five miles from its corporate headquarters. (more…)