Jun 14 2005

Senators Graham and Clinton Launch Senate Manufacturing Caucus

Bipartisan Caucus will lead Senate Efforts to Address Manufacturing Crisis

WASHINGTON -- Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today launched the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus to spearhead Congressional efforts to address problems facing our country’s manufacturing industry. The United States has seen a significant erosion of its manufacturing base with over three million manufacturing jobs lost over the past seven years. Today, 14.3 million Americans are employed in the manufacturing sector, the lowest level of manufacturing employment since the end of World War II. Manufacturing job losses have hit virtually every state in the country. “For generations, our manufacturing sector has been the backbone of the American economy. Manufacturing jobs built our great Middle Class and allowed millions of families to live the American Dream and create a better life for their children. That bedrock strength is being eroded and we cannot afford as a country to sit back while our manufacturing capability slips away,” said Senator Clinton. “We need a strong manufacturing base for our economy to grow and we need to invest in creating the manufacturing jobs of the future. This caucus will lead efforts on Capitol Hill to help address these challenges.” “South Carolina’s economy is heavily based on manufacturing and over the last decade this sector has taken one hit after another,” said Senator Graham. “We can no longer watch good jobs disappear. It’s now time for Republicans and Democrats to join together to protect American manufacturing jobs and take steps to create a better business environment. The caucus will explore all aspects of the manufacturing sector with the ultimate goal of restoring this vital part of our economy. To improve the manufacturing climate in our state and nation, we’ll have to work together. The creation of the Manufacturing Caucus is another step in the right direction.” The caucus will identify strategies to address the root causes of the problems facing American manufacturing and opportunities for Congressional action to create and keep manufacturing jobs. They also noted the need to address the costs of health care and pensions that threaten American companies and their workers. Manufacturing leads every other sector of our economy in productivity growth, leading to higher wages, higher profits and lower prices. The average manufacturing job pays about $5 per hour more than jobs in the service sector and manufacturing jobs have a multiplier effect -- for every manufacturing job created in the United States, there are four jobs created that depend on that manufacturing job. In particular, Senators Graham and Clinton noted the urgency to continue to invest in research and development to foster innovation needed to keep our manufacturers competitive. Manufacturers currently lead the way in R&D, spearheading almost two-thirds of all private-sector R&D. The innovations resulting from this R&D benefit not only the manufacturing sector, but also non-manufacturing sectors of the economy. Senators Graham and Clinton emphasized we cannot remain confident in our economic or national security if we become a country dependent on our other nations to provide our goods. In order to sustain a healthy and competitive manufacturing base, we need to maintain innovation and productivity. The caucus will bring together business and labor leaders, economists, and other stakeholders; commission academic studies and other inquiries and champion legislation to address challenges facing our country’s manufacturing sector. Clinton and Graham will serve as Co-Chairs of the caucus. Charter members of the caucus include Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Barack Obama (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). FACTS ON AMERICAN AND SOUTH CAROLINA MANUFACTURING 14.3 million Americans are employed in the manufacturing sector, the lowest level since the end of World War II. The United States has lost 2,997,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 5 years. This represents a loss of 17.4 percent of all manufacturing jobs. South Carolina has lost 72,800 manufacturing jobs in the last 5 years. This represents a loss of 21.6 percent of all manufacturing jobs in South Carolina. The current unemployment rate in South Carolina is 6.5 percent. This is the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country. The national unemployment rate is 5.1 percent. Nationwide, from 2001-2003 the manufacturing sector has lost: 387,900 computer and electronic producing jobs 292,200 metal fabrication jobs 219,500 telecommunications jobs 214,800 machinery jobs 213,300 textile mill jobs 162,500 transportation equipment production jobs 97,000 electrical equipment and appliance jobs #####