WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, today held a hearing entitled “Manufacturing and the Credit Crisis.”
“My point is not that the manufacturing sector is more important than other key sectors of our economy like the financial services sector,” Brown said. “My point is that our nation needs to excel in both of these economic sectors to maintain our leadership in the global economy and our security in the global arena.”
Brown presided over testimonies from two panels. Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers (USW) and David Marchick, a managing director of the Carlyle Group provided testimony in the first panel. While not likely partners, USW and Carlyle Group have teamed up to advocate for federal investment in manufacturing as a way of reviving our nation’s economy.
The second panel included testimony from representatives of manufacturing companies that have been affected by the credit crisis. The panel included T. Eugene Haffely, CEO of Assembly and Test Worldwide in Dayton, Ohio; Lt. Gen. Larry Farrell, president of the National Defense Industrial Association; and William Gaskin, president of Precision Metalforming Association of Independence, Ohio.
Manufacturing accounts for $1.6 trillion of U.S. GDP (12%), and for nearly three-fourths of the nation’s industrial research and development. Manufacturing also pays 20 percent more on average than service jobs.
Unfortunately, even before the current recession, U.S. manufacturing has been facing immense challenges. More than 40,000 factories have closed nationwide in the past ten years. Since the economic downturn, however, U.S. manufacturing has faltered. On Friday, the Labor Department reported the loss of 539,000 jobs in April, including 149,000 in manufacturing. In the past eight years, Ohio has lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs. Seventy-seven of Ohio’s 88 counties have had a loss of manufacturing jobs since 2001, with the remainder experiencing job stagnation.
Sen. Brown today cosponsored legislation that would prevent nations from manipulating currency values to gain advantage with manufacturing exports. The Currency Reform for the Fair Trade Act partners bipartisan lawmakers with business, industry, and labor leaders affected by unfair currency misalignment practices.