Secretary Locke started his testimony about the Future of American Manufacturing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by declaring, "The Obama administration believes that manufacturing is essential to America’s economic competitiveness. Manufacturing is a vital source of good middle-class jobs. And it is a key driver of innovation, with 70 percent of all private sector R&Dspending done by manufacturing companies. The United States is still the world’s largest and most productive manufacturer. On its own, U.S. manufacturing would rank today as the seventh-largest economy in the world. And just yesterday, it was reported that U.S. manufacturing activity hit its highest level since 2004.
But manufacturing productivity gains – which are so essential to growth – are partly responsible for millions of lost manufacturing jobs. Factories that once needed 1,000 people to build a product can now do it with 100. Meanwhile, competitors abroad are consistently producing quality goods at less cost. America can’t escape this global competition. But we can win it, by leading the development of new industries and manufacturing higher value goods that the world's consumers demand.
And it is important that when American companies invent something here, that they make it here – not all the time, but a healthy proportion of the time. Because the fact is that companies learn by doing. The manufacturing process itself helps companies develop more efficient ways of doing things, and even develop second and third-generation product innovations that would never be discovered on the front end of the design process alone.
That’s why so many of the Obama administration's economic policies are focused on:
Number one: Creating incentives for American companies to build more things here; and
Number two: Opening up global markets so they can sell those things in more places around the world."
Read his entire testimony and watch his entire opening statement below: