NDN Blog

Quick Hit on the November Jobs Number

The November jobs report is positive in many ways.

Adding 146,000 jobs to the economy is good for any number of obvious reasons.

Unemployment is now at 7.7%, down from the recent high of 10.1% in October of 2009.

There's no question that the overall direction of the economy is inching in the right direction, but the pace of growth isn't what anyone would like to see.

Interestingly, the recovery might be accelerated by demographic changes. Ken Baer has an interesting take on the importance of demographics in the national unemployment equation here.

Apple: Made in the USA?

Many Americans love Apple products. I am one of them. My household features two Apple laptops, one desktop, an iPad and two iPhones.

In an interview to be aired on NBC tonight, Apple CEO Tim Cook will announce that a new line of Mac computers will be built entirely in the United States in 2013. You can watch a preview clip here.

This is notable not only because another major American company is insourcing jobs. Cook's statement below cuts to the heart of a major challenge in the advanced manufacturing field:

"It's not so much about price, it's about the skills, et cetera. Over time, there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the U.S. Not necessarily people, but the education system stopped producing them."

The 'ecosystem' around manufacturing needs to be rebuilt. Backfilling the skills gap with greater investment in adult education and vocational skills is an important step in reinvigorating our economy.

Local Innovation vs Fiscal Cliff

Washington is consumed with talks about the fiscal cliff and the various ways it can impact our economy in the near and long term.

As noted by Time’s Michael Grunwald:

Obama and congressional leaders manufactured the cliff to try to force themselves to reach a grand bargain that would enact trillions of dollars worth of deficit reduction. But the final bargain can be as grand or as modest as they want it to be. We’ve got a long-term deficit problem, but it’s not a short-term deficit crisis. We’re not Greece. And just as Washington created the cliff, Washington can make it go away.

While Washington is playing a game of chicken with our economy, cities and metropolitan areas are trying innovative new ways to modernize for job growth.

As noted by our friends at the Brooking Institution’s Metropolitan Project, cities facilitate trade and growth. Although this is clearly important for their local economies, growth in metro areas can drive national and global economies.

At the Next Economy Partnership Project, we understand and appreciate DC’s role in kickstarting the economy. But in doing so, we also need to recognize the importance of local innovation in building the next economy. Our ownAcceleration Agenda gives a blueprint for how Washington can help, well, accelerate an economy based on local innovation, impact and inclusion.

Infrastructure and the Fiscal Cliff

At the Next Economy Partnership Project, we believe investing in infrastructure is critical for the economic recovery. We define ‘infrastructure’ broadly, incorporating everything from traditional shovel ready projects like bridges or transit to innovation infrastructure like broadband and clean energy.

Moreover, our opinion research shows that Americans want major investments in infrastructure to help reinvigorate local economies.

As part of the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations, the Obama Administration recently proposed a $50 billion investment in infrastructure to keep the recovery moving forward.

Recent studies indicate that every dollar spent on infrastructure increases a state’s GSP (like GDP but for a state) by at least TWO dollars.

The states and metropolitan areas that are driving our economic recovery are begging for investment in infrastructure.

Naturally, Congressional Republicans are opposed to infrastructure investment, actually laughing at the President’s proposal.

Rebuilding local economies by rebuilding infrastructure is no laughing matter.

The Obama Administration’s infrastructure plan deserves serious consideration to keep our recovery’s inertia moving in the right direction.

Insourcing is Booming

 

This great new piece in the Atlantic documents what we’ve said for a while: bringing jobs back to the US matters.

This isn’t just a political talking point – it’s about the bottom line.

Writing in Harvard Business Reviewin March, (GE CEO Jeff Immelt) declared that outsourcing is “quickly becoming mostly outdated as a business model for GE Appliances.” Just four years after he tried to sell Appliance Park, believing it to be a relic of an era GE had transcended, he’s spending some $800 million to bring the place back to life. “I don’t do that because I run a charity,” he said at a public event in September. “I do that because I think we can do it here and make more money.”

Emphasis on the last line is added, but the message is clear. Advanced manufacturing is critical to the future of America’s economy.

 

Infrastructure and the Fiscal Cliff

See the latest from NPI on the importance of infrastructure in the fiscal cliff conversation here.

The Closing Argument

 

The President’s closing argument made its debut this morning in the form of an aspirational ad titled ‘Determination.’ 

The major platforms of the President’s closing argument are consistent with the pillars of our Next Economy Partnership Project. Our shared agenda includes investing heavily in clean energy and advanced manufacturing while also retooling our workforce. Moreover, our extensive and ongoing opinion research effort shows that this path forward isn't partisan, it's what Americans see as critical to economic competitiveness in the 21st century.

 

 

New Policy Institute Releases Updated "Acceleration Agenda"

Two years ago, the New Policy Institute released the Acceleration Agenda - a plan for job creation, innovation and economic development.

NPI just released an update to this report titled Acceleration 2.0.

In Acceleration 2.0, we address some of the key issues regarding job creation and the solutions that Americans want moving forward.

The report is available here.

A Quick Note on Major New Action from the Fed

Big news from the Federal Reserve today - more here and here.

The New York Times notes the most striking element of today's news:

But perhaps more significant...was the basic change in its approach, for the first time pledging to act until the economy improves rather than creating programs with fixed endpoints.

Manufacturing a Rebound

It's no secret that the economic downturn has taken a toll on the middle class.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center spells out the effects of the economic downturn on middle class families very clearly.

Our own research at the Next Economy Partnership Project shows that although many of the manufacturing jobs that built the middle class are gone, America has enormous opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Job openings for skilled factory workers are booming - up nearly 40% in the last seven years, even in the middle of the downturn.

The New York Times speculates that President Obama 'saved Ohio' with his policies that emphasize advanced manufacturing. Jared Bernstein argues that federal intervention under President Obama played a significant role in helping Ohio's economy.

The takeaway from the Times piece is coordination. What's happening in Ohio couldn't take place without coordination across different levels of government - from the President to the Governor to Mayors. They all play a role in implementing policies that can accelerate job creation. 

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