Biden’s Manufacturing Boom Is Underway. But The Jobs Haven’t Followed Yet



Jan 19, 2024 – Biden’s manufacturing boom is underway. But the jobs haven’t followed yet.
The new manufacturing jobs tied to Biden’s investment plans are coming — but maybe not until after the election.

President Joe Biden believes he’s got the U.S. on the verge of a boom time for American manufacturing.

He just needs to convince voters to keep him in office long enough to see it through.

In swing states and factory towns, Biden is making a resurgence in domestic manufacturing central to his reelection pitch. He’s highlighting a surge of investments across the nation as evidence that an economic agenda centered on reviving the country’s industrial core is just starting to pay off.

But 10 months out from the election, those new factory projects remain in their early stages — and have yet to generate an anticipated wave of manufacturing jobs. And after a pandemic-era rebound, industry hiring overall has turned stagnant: Manufacturers added just 12,000 jobs in 2023 amid an extended business slowdown.

The lull has threatened to complicate the White House’s depiction of an economy that’s entered a manufacturing renaissance, feeding fears that Biden is losing ground among voters in key battleground states — even as he advances policies aimed squarely at boosting their communities in the long run.

“The messaging is challenging — people actually need to see the results for themselves,” said Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, where recent polls show Biden trailing GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Biden is spending the first weeks of 2024 trying to make headway on that front, foreshadowing a campaign that will increasingly make the argument that his industrial strategy is poised to succeed where Trump and others before him failed.

Enticed by a range of new subsidies and tax breaks, manufacturers have poured roughly $220 billion over the last 18 months into manufacturing construction on Biden’s watch. New factories will eventually make the car parts, computer chips and construction materials that the U.S. has long relied on foreign countries to provide. Read More

China’s Hidden Tech Revolution

How Beijing Threatens U.S. Dominance
By Dan Wang

Foreign Affairs
March/April 2023

In 2007, the year Apple first started making iPhones in China, the country was better known for cheap labor than for technological sophistication. At the time, Chinese firms were unable to produce almost any of the iPhone’s internal components, which were imported from Germany, Japan, and the United States. China’s overall contribution to the devices was limited to the labor of assembling these components at Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen—what amounted to less than four percent of the value-added costs.

By the time the iPhone X was released, in 2018, the situation had dramatically changed. Not only were Chinese workers continuing to assemble most iPhones, but Chinese firms were producing many of the sophisticated components inside them, including acoustic parts, charging modules, and battery packs. Having mastered complex technologies, these firms could produce better products than their Asian and European competitors. With the latest generation of iPhones, this pattern has only accelerated. Today, Chinese tech firms account for more than 25 percent of the device’s value-added costs.

Although the iPhone is a special case—as one of the most intricate pieces of hardware in existence, it relies on an exceptional range of technologies—its expanding footprint in China captures a broader trend. In a majority of manufactured goods, Chinese firms have moved beyond assembling foreign-made components to producing their own cutting-edge technologies. Along with its dominance of renewable power equipment, China is now at the forefront of emerging technologies Read More