Trade & Economic News from the DOC; R&D, Export & Manufacturing Jobs

Why Investing in R&D Matters.  The latest data (PDF) show that if R&D spending was treated as an investment, rather than a current expense, the level of GDP would have been, on average, 2.7 percent, or $301.5 billion, higher than reported over the period 1998 to 2007. It’s estimated that business investment in R&D had a significant contribution to economic growth over the same period, accounting for about a 4 percent share of the growth in real GDP, on average.

Which industries are currently putting the most into research and development? According to the BEA (PDF), biotechnology, and information, communication and technology (ICT) industries accounted for four-fifths of the business sector’s R&D contribution to GDP growth between 1998 and 2007. Transportation equipment industries contributed about 11 percent.

Moving in the Right Direction on Jobs – Let’s Keep our Focus on Building it Here and Selling it Everywhere. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent and 243,000 jobs were added in January, making this the 23rd consecutive month of job growth. Private sector job growth has been driving the decrease in unemployment, with the private sector adding 257,000 jobs last month. The manufacturing sector alone grew by 50,000 jobs in January, showing that manufacturing is still an important and growing part of the American economy. In the last two years, manufacturing added 330,000 jobs in the U.S. – the strongest growth since the 1990s.

Exporting Products “Made in America” Supports Jobs Here at Home. “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States”—recently highlighted in 2009, manufacturing made up more than 11 percent of GDP.  It employed nearly 12 million workers. And these are good jobs. In the manufacturing sector, total hourly compensation is, on average, 22 percent higher than the services sector.

85 percent of world economic growth over the next five years will take place outside of the United States. Meanwhile, exports mean jobs. In 2010 alone, exports supported 9 million jobs. And, 60 percent of those exports came from manufacturing. So, the correlation between jobs, exports and manufacturing is clear.

Brundage Post: Resurgence of the American Auto Industry.  Today, the American auto industry is coming back, creating jobs and moving cars off the line. Last month, the automotive industry added nearly 11,000 positions, bringing the total number of jobs added in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 36,000. The industry added 100,000 jobs over the course of 2011.

Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added back more than 170,000 jobs, the best period of job growth in more than a decade. While there’s more work to be done, it’s clear the auto industry is moving in the right direction.

In December, we saw auto sales climb for the seventh consecutive month. The Big Three—Ford, GM and Chrysler—all saw sale increases for December, and the year as a whole.

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