By Agence France-Presse President George W. Bush on Sept. 1 created a new administration post with responsibility for revitalizing the layoff-hit manufacturing sector. "So I told Secretary Don Evans of the Commerce Department I want him to appoint an assistant secretary to focus on the needs of manufacturers, to make sure our manufacturing job base is strong and vibrant," Bush said in a speech to engineering union members. During the speech, which focused on the economy, Bush acknowledged that there "is a problem in the manufacturing sector" which has shed some 2.7 million jobs in the past three years. "And I understand if it were a full recovery, to make sure people can find work, that manufacturing must do better," Bush said. Bush noted that some of the job losses that have hit the industry have come about as a result of productivity gains, but he also said the laws of global commerce have to be "fair" in order to avoid the loss of American jobs overseas to foreign countries. "You see, we in America believe we can compete with anybody just so long as the rules are fair. And we intend to keep them fair," Bush said.