Congress Gets an Earful on Manufacturing and the Credit Crisis

Precision Metal forming Association says it's the most dire situation it has ever seen.

On May 13 U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a hearing to discuss the effect of the credit crisis on for the manufacturing industry. "The Labor Department reported on May 15 the loss of 539,000 jobs in April, including 149,000 in manufacturing. In the past eight years, Ohio has lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs. Seventy-seven of Ohio's 88 counties have had a loss of manufacturing jobs since 2001, with the remainder experiencing job stagnation. Manufacturing supports two-thirds of all private-sector U.S. research and nearly 80% of our patents."

This record job loss has hit families hard, explained Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers (USW). "Too many members were hit by the supreme crisis not only in terms of the mortgages they took out, but also by the cascading problems that blew the lid off the economy," Gerard said.

Small and middle market manufacturers woes are spreading across all market sectors. "These times are the most dire times I have seen for stampers, roll formers, machining, tooling and mold-building companies who comprise the thousands of small-middle-market suppliers who employ millions of workers around the country," said William E. Gaskin, President, Precision Metal forming Association.

Unions such as United Steelworkers are teaming up with financial companies including The Carlyle Group in effort to revive the economy. "The main concern is not that the manufacturing sector is more paramount than other key sectors of our economy like the financial services sector," Brown said. "My point is that our nation needs to excel in both of these economic sectors to maintain our leadership in the global economy and our security in the global arena."

To view the testimony click here.

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