In 2012, President Barack Obama's State of the Union address audaciously put American manufacturing and the middle class front and center. Later that year, as he was asking voters for four more years, he made a campaign pledge to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs during his second term, which would have been an impressive accomplishment.
While this president will have many defining legacies — particularly as we look back on his domestic policy and diplomacy — reviving American manufacturing won't be among them.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama will no doubt take credit for the success of the U.S. auto sector through the rescue package he secured, though last year's sales were also driven by low fuel costs, low interest rates, and pent-up demand. He may make mention of the network of public-private innovation institutes starting up across America. These new partnerships will be quite valuable for developing cutting edge products, processes, and training programs for the next generation of industry.
But it won't be enough: You can't get manufacturing right unless you get trade and exchange-rate policy right.
How short is President Obama of his promise to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs? Three years in, his progress stands at just 370,000, according to Labor Department statistics. That's a big miss.
Read more about how Obama has fallen short of his 2012 promises from Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.