It's Imports, Stupid: U.S. Manufacturing Up But Not Out Of Woods

Americans need to change their mentality if they want U.S. manufacturing to regain its former glory. Sure, it’s great that the industrial sector is making a comeback but the nation as a whole, needs to kick the borrow-and spend habit and adopt more of an earn-and-produce philosophy to help manufacturers ultimately succeed, according to a new U.S. Business and Industry Council report.

Despite recent gains, American factories are still losing out to overseas rivals even in the U.S. market, stunting economic and jobs growth, concludes the council, which analyzed production and foreign trade data going back to over a decade ago for more than 100 advanced manufacturing sectors. What the group found was that U.S. manufacturing isn’t as diverse as it used to be, skewing heavily toward high-tech.

It’s the imports that the nation needs to keep a closer watch upon. Greater exports don’t mean a thing if they’re outpaced by imports.

“Current Democratic and Republican proposals - such as tax and regulatory cuts, more federal support for advanced manufacturing R&D, better worker training or growing exports - can all strengthen domestic industry. But without curbing imports - many resulting from predatory foreign trade practices - the major reindustrialization America needs will remain a distant goal, writes Alan Tonelson, the council’s research fellow, in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s op-ed section.

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