Advancing Manufacturing Means Advancing Jobs

John recently published a new blog, "Advancing Manufacturing Means Advancing Jobs" on GE's Ideas Lab. Below are some excerpts from his latest: 

"Even with all of these positive trends, unemployment is still stubbornly high. Yes, unemployment is at a four year low – and that’s a good thing. And, yes, unemployment is slowly creeping downward. But a 7.5-percent national unemployment rate can only be considered good news in comparison to our near term high unemployment rate of 10 percent in October 2009. At our current rate of reduction, it could take years to get unemployment down to pre-recession levels. That doesn’t even count the number of people that are underemployed.In short, of the various factors that caused the economic turmoil in the last four years, most have turned around. But we still have a jobs crisis in America."

He continues, explaining that Americans understand we need a strong return from the manufacturing sector in the 21st century. Though he elaborates upon these ideas, below is a summary:

"The Obama Administration’s manufacturing initiatives are a great place to start. The suite of efforts promoted by the Administration are designed to promote regional centers of manufacturing innovation, retooling skills for a workforce that needs 21st century skills, and helping to develop the overall ecosystem needed for manufacturing to thrive. Expanding the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation will help pair cutting edge university research with emerging companies in the advanced manufacturing space.  A recently announced effort by the Economic Development Administration called the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership addresses the workforce retooling and infrastructure investments needed to broaden and deepen manufacturing ecosystems in cities across America.   An exciting new initiative spearheaded by the Department of Energy combines advanced manufacturing with another critical emerging sector of the economy – the clean energy sector – to bolster both at once while increasing America’s competitiveness in the race to become a global leader in  cleaner energy. (You can read more about the range of manufacturing initiatives undertaken by the Obama Administration here.)"

He then details innovative metro policies like the Lousville-Lexington corridor, and this integral aspect of their improving their local economies. In conclusion, he writes, "The manufacturing sector is growing across the country. As noted here, a range of metro areas – from Texas to Washington state to Michigan to Virginia – have created hundreds of thousands of jobs since 2010 by focusing on manufacturing. As a nation, we need to build things. It’s in our DNA as Americans. We may not build the same things as our grandparents or produce them in the same way, but we will continue to build. The emerging importance of advanced manufacturing for job creation – and the economy at large – is too important for policymakers to ignore. And it can get a jumpstart from smart policy from Washington to City Hall."