072109_Are_Manufacturers_Also_Too_Big_to_Fail - Are...

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Are Manufacturers Also Too Big to Fail? By LOUIS UCHITELLE New York Times July 21, 2009 If the Obama administration has a strategy for reviving manufacturing, Douglas Bartlett would like to know what it is. Buffeted by foreign competition, Mr. Bartlett recently closed his printed circuit board factory, founded 57 years ago by his father, and laid off the remaining 87 workers. Last week, he auctioned off the machinery, and soon he will raze the factory itself in Cary, Ill. “The property taxes are no longer affordable,” Mr. Bartlett said glumly, “so I am going to tear down the building and sit on the land, and hopefully sell it after the recession when land prices hopefully rise.” Though manufacturing has long been in decline, the loss of factory jobs has been especially brutal of late, with nearly two million disappearing since the recession began in December 2007. Even a few chief executives, heading companies that have shifted plenty of production abroad, are beginning to express alarm. “We must make a serious commitment to manufacturing and exports. This is a national imperative,” Jeffrey R. Immelt , chairman and chief executive of General Electric , said in a speech last month, while acknowledging that G.E. was enriched by its overseas operations too. President Obama , agreeing in effect, has declared, “The fight for American manufacturing is the fight for America’s future.” The United States ranks behind every industrial nation except France in the percentage of overall economic activity devoted to manufacturing — 13.9 percent, the World Bank reports, down a percentage point or so in a decade. The 19-month-old recession has contributed to this decline. Industrial production has fallen 17.3 percent, the sharpest drop during a recession since the 1930s.
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course IE 334 taught by Professor Gard during the Spring '11 term at Lehigh University .

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072109_Are_Manufacturers_Also_Too_Big_to_Fail - Are...

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