The Imperceptible Comeback of American Manufacturing March 10, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I swear, the press works so hard for this president. I mean, they’ll take any tiny piece of maybe-good-news and turn it into a Positive Trend with Long-Term Implications Here we have Heesun Wee of CNBC telling us of the resurgence in Buy American and American manufacturing:
‘Made in the USA’ Making a Comeback
A curious thing is happening among American shoppers. More people are taking a moment to flip over an item or fish for a label and ask, is it “Made in the USA?”
So you read through the article looking for the exciting stats on increased sales of domestic goods, and you find . . . nothing. How, then, does Heesun support his claim? Well he has 3 examples:
- A website (USA Love List) started by a blogger has increased traffic since it started in Nov. 2011. (How much? They don’t say.)
- An American company (Architec Housewares) has been talking to retailers about their ‘Made in America’ product line. No sales stats – they’ve apparently just been talking. And the size of this company that’s such a noteworthy green shoot? Nine employees. Yes, nine.
- An American toy company is doing well in exporting to other countries. That company’s size? Well, it dwarfs little Architec Housewares: Green Toys boasts a staff of 13!!
He also mentions Walmart’s pledge to buy $50 billion more domestic products over the next 10 years, and GE’s plan to invest $1 billion to “revitalize its appliance business.” Neither of these has anything to do with consumer sentiment – in fact, only the website with the mystery hits expresses consumer sentiment.
So is it real? I mean, sure the guy wrote a fanciful and poorly-sourced article, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. To check, I like to look at a little thing called imports, which tells us how much foreign stuff we buy. In January of 2012 we bought $43.1 billion of consumer goods from abroad. In January 2013, the “Made in the USA” comeback has reduced that to a mere $44.4 billion.
Oh wait, that’s an increase, isn’t it.
I’d like to believe in a resurgence of American manufacturing, I really would. I prefer an economy with a strong manufacturing base. But I’m just not seeing these bright rays of hope that people like Heesun are bathing in.