In January of 2011, President Obama unveiled his plan to revive U.S. manufacturing. Instead of cutting imports to bring American manufacturing jobs back home, the president instead turned his focus to exports, vowing to make America into a Germany-like net exporter by doubling exports over the next five years.
Predictably (since the U.S. has no control over exports), the U.S. is failing to meet this goal. The Bureau of Economic Analysis released trade data for the month of April this morning. Exports fell to $182.9 billion in April, falling short of the goal by $13.34 billion. This marked the 9th consecutive shortfall – and the largest.
That’s total exports. Obviously, if the goal was to breathe life into manufacturing by doubling exports, then the real goal is to double exports in that category of products. There, the president’s failure is even worse. The shortfall in manufactured exports in April was $16.46 billion – the 13th consecutive shortfall and the worst since the goal of doubling exports was set.
Though the overall trade deficit improved slightly in April to -$50.1 billion from -$52.6 billion in March, the overall trend remains decidedly negative. Here’s a chart: Balance of Trade. And here’s a chart of total imports and exports vs. the president’s goal: Obamas Goal to Double Exports. And here’s a chart of imports and exports vs. the president’s goal in the critical category of manufactured products: Manf’d Goods Balance.
To put the president’s failure on the manufacturing front of the economy in perspective, consider this: in May, the U.S. added 12,000 manufacturing jobs. If the U.S. were to bring home over a period of five years the approximately 6 million manufacturing jobs lost through stupid trade policy (dating back decades, but continued under the Obama presidency), we should be adding 100,000 manufacturing jobs per month. We’re lagging the president’s goal by an order of magnitude.