An Achievable Onshoring Goal: 4 Million Manufacturing Jobs

As Obama and Romney debate offshoring, many commentators have pointed out that estimating the total job loss from offshoring is difficult.

However,  we can answer a different but related question:  How many manufacturing jobs could we bring back if we closed the trade deficit? A recent analysis by the Progressive Policy Institute, Manufacturing in the App Economy, showed that closing the trade deficit would add roughly 3.5-4 million direct and indirect manufacturing jobs,raising total manufacturing employment to about  15.5-16 million, or 2001 levels.

There would be a cost–a one-time rise of 1.8-2% in overall economy-wide prices–but that seems manageable at a time of low inflation.  What’s more, the U.S. will be borrowing a lot less

Obama should adopt the goal of bringing back 4 million manufacturing jobs  as one of the key goals of his campaign. It’s very achievable, and can only benefit Americans.

From the paper:

We as a country need to pay more attention to innovation and production across every sector of the economy, including manufacturing. Our goal should be to create a balanced economy. That means producing as much as we consume; sustaining our standard of living without taking on loads of debt; and excelling in both tangible industries, such as manufacturing,and intangible industries, such as healthcare and computer programming.

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About Michael Mandel 126 Articles

Michael Mandel was BusinessWeek's chief economist from 1989-2009, where he helped direct the magazine's coverage of the domestic and global economies.

Since joining BusinessWeek in 1989, he has received multiple awards for his work, including being honored as one of the 100 top U.S. business journalists of the 20th century for his coverage of the New Economy. In 2006 Mandel was named "Best Economic Journalist" by the World Leadership Forum.

Mandel is the author of several books, including Rational Exuberance, The Coming Internet Depression, and The High Risk Society.

Mandel holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

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