Our guest blogger is Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Manufacturing is important to the economy and, especially, to the economic recovery. From its most recent low point in December 2009, manufacturing has added nearly a quarter of a million (243,000) new jobs. But not this month: In May, manufacturing shed 5,000 jobs.
One month of bad data isn’t typically something to write home about. The severe weather in the Midwest and South and the lingering supply chain effects of the Japanese tsunami might have played a role (although the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that’s not likely).
But combined with other news, this is a sobering statistic. Earlier this week, the Institute for Supply Management reported that while the index of economic activity in the manufacturing sector expended in May for the 22nd straight month, the index was sharply lower than in April. And, in May, auto sales were down by 3.7 percent year over year. Combine that with too-low economic growth, and the picture gets a bit grimmer.
What will it take to revive U.S. manufacturing? Well, a good place to start would be to have a plan. A good plan would encourage domestic production and make investments in new technologies that will be the future of manufacturing, like green energy.