“Buying American” Generally Matters More to Women Than Men

Harris Importance of Buying American March 2013 woman

A majority of American adults believe that it is important to “buy American” across a variety of product types, according to results from a Harris Interactive survey, even if the definition of what constitutes an “American” product is not universally shared by respondents. Interestingly, while there were few gaps in the importance placed on “buying American” among Republicans and Democrats responding to the survey, women were more likely than men to feel it more important for each product category identified.

For example, women were:

  • 11% more likely to consider “buying American” important when purchasing major appliances (79% vs. 71%);
  • 10% more likely to consider it important for furniture purchases (78% vs. 71%);
  • 15% more likely to place importance on this factor when buying clothing (77% vs. 67%);
  • 14% more likely to find it important for car purchases (74% vs. 65%); and
  • 20% more likely to consider it important when buying home electronics (72% vs. 60%).

On each count, 18-35-year-olds were significantly less likely than any other generation to believe that “buying American” is important to them.

The survey finds that the definition of what constitutes “buying American” isn’t universally agreed upon. Three-quarters agree that a product needs to be manufactured within the US for them to consider it “American,” while a slight majority believe that it needs to be made by an American company for them to consider it “American.” Close behind, 47% agree that a product needs to be made from parts produced in the US for them to consider it “American.”

As the researchers note, the company perceived by respondents to be the most “American” – Ford – increasingly has cars which include parts produced abroad. Other companies showing up in the most “American” list – such as GE and Levi Strauss – also outsource some of their operations overseas.

Regardless of the extent to which these companies’ products meet consumer definitions, “Made in America” packaging can influence consumers. A study released last year by Perception Research Services found that about 8 in 10 shoppers notice “Made in the USA” claims in packaging, and about three-quarters of those believe that such claims make them more likely to buy the product.

According to the Harris survey results, the most commonly-cited important reasons for “buying American” are to keep jobs in America (90%), to support American companies (87%), and due to quality (83%) and safety (82%) concerns with products assembled outside of the US.

About the Data: The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 12 and 18, 2012 among 2,176 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Data for the “What company do you consider to be most ‘American’” question was conducted online within the United States between January 2 and 4, 2012 among 2,126 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/topics/automotive/buying-american-generally-matters-more-to-women-than-men-27559


o learn more about Made in USA Certification: http://www.USA-C.com


Made in America, Again

Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. is politically savvy and can make economic sense.

Offshore labor: A worker in a Foxconn factory assembles consumer electronics for U.S. markets.

At a dinner for Silicon Valley big shots in February 2011, President Obama asked Steve Jobs what it would take to manufacture the iPhone in the United States. Apple’s founder and CEO is said to have responded directly: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”

In December, Apple reversed course, saying it planned to assemble a line of Mac computers in the U.S. With that, Apple joined a wave of companies that say manufacturing in this country makes sense again. Companies that say they’ve brought back jobs include General Electric, Michigan Ladder, and Wham-O, which in 2010 hired eight people to make Frisbees in Los Angeles instead of China. An MIT study in 2012 found that 14 percent of companies intend to move some manufacturing back home.

The idea is known as “reshoring.” Although Chinese wages are a fraction of U.S. labor costs, rising shipping rates, quality problems, and the intangible costs of being far from headquarters all add up. That’s why some companies have begun to rethink the manufacturing equation.

MIT Technology Review interviewed Harry Moser, head of the Chicago-basedReshoring Initiative, about the trend. Moser, a former industry executive whose family has been involved in American manufacturing for a century, says he grew up “experiencing the glory of U.S. manufacturing.” He created the initiative to help companies compare the real costs of manufacturing at home and abroad, and to track the experiences of those who are returning.

Why are people talking about reshoring all of a sudden?

It’s actually been happening over the last few years. The obvious answer is that Chinese wages are doubling every four years. The consultants who five years ago were helping people offshore are now helping them inshore. And then you have President Obama making a big deal over how to reduce imports and start making stuff again.

Read more of this post

We Need More “Made in the USA” — Hear That, Apple? Congress?


What is the future of work? Which party will prevail in not only lowering our unhealthy unemployment rate but ensuring that job growth will continue based on genuine prosperity and not the “bubble economics” such as the housing and Internet bubble enabled by Bill Clinton? Let’s call it “Bubba economics.”

As I said in a previous post, the major driver of our economic doldrums is the rise of China and India during the past decade. What’s more, while economists can claim that the issue is China’s undervalued currency, it’s the slave wages that make outsourcing to China appealing. Let’s face it, American businesses didn’t relocate to southern states because they have a different currency but because they are “right to work” states.

President Obama’s announcement on Monday that the administration would take action against China for illegal subsidies of auto parts sheds a light on the enormous role China is playing in our economic doldrums.

But I’d contend that it’s cheap labor, not subsidies, that’s the problem. The reason why the last decade was the first since the Great Depression in which there was no net job creation in the U.S. is that the 500 million people in advanced economy labor pools, whose average daily wage is $135, can’t compete with the 1.1 billion people who make $12 a day in developing economies such as China, and the 1.3 billion people in rural economies where the daily wage is only $1 to $2 a day.

We didn’t used to outsource, at least not to this degree. In 1955 GM was the largest company, with more than 475,000 employees and only around 75,000 employed by overseas contractors. Today Apple is the biggest company, employing fewer than 50,000 employees here and more than 700,000 abroad.

The standard Republican response to economic doldrums — claiming that tax cuts will incentivize companies to “re-shore” jobs–is absurd. As even the conservative Wall Street Journal admitted, most major U.S. companies pay zero taxes.

While Huffington Post’s “What is Working” campaign has provided vital input on how we’ve got to train more Americans for highly skilled jobs — especially at community colleges — unfortunately the fastest growing jobs don’t require a college degree.

As economist Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute has observed, “the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2014 the number of occupations filled by people with college degrees will rise by merely one percentage point — from 28 percent to 29 percent.”

What’s more, the BLS says that of the ten occupational groups that will add the most jobs between 2010 and 2020, five don’t even require a high-school diploma.

Those who think we can jump-start the economy by encouraging high tech start-ups need a reality check, given that too many of these start-ups wind up outsourcing much of their work. Wonder why California, our most entrepreneurial state, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country — 11.5 percent as of March of this year compared to the U.S. rate of 8.3 percent?

In fact, four of the five Congressional districts in the U.S. with the highest proportional decline in jobs are in the tech-heavy San Francisco Bay area — oh, and the fifth is Austin, which is also a high tech area.

Says Intel founder Andy Grove, only about 166,000 people in the U.S. work in the computer manufacturing industry, a lower figure than when the first PC was assembled in 1975. “Meanwhile, a very effective computer manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers,” says Grove. Unlike Apple, GE and HP, “[Intel is] making three-quarters of those chips in the United States, even though three quarters of its microprocessor chips are sold elsewhere. Intel employs 44,000 people in the U.S., more than half its overall workforce of 84,000,” according to Robert D. Hof of Stanford Business Magazine online.

Grove knows first hand the price you pay if you don’t make the stuff you invented:

When Intel’s business consisted of making memory chips, we hesitated to add manufacturing capacity, not being all that sure about the market demand in years to come. Our Japanese competitors didn’t hesitate: They built the plants. Asian countries seem to understand that job creation must be the Number One objective of state economic policy.

Grove’s approach to re-source and re-shore jobs to the U.S.A?

Levy an extra tax on the product of offshored labor. Deposit it in the coffers of what we might call the Scaling Bank of the U.S. and make these sums available to companies that will scale their American operations. If the result is a trade war, treat it like other wars — fight to win. If what I’m saying sounds protectionist so be it.

Grove offers Germany, which produces more high-end goods than China — from autos to renewable energy — as a role model. For one thing, management and labor have a more cooperative relationship, emphasizing on-the-job training and avoiding layoffs by substituting wage freezes or temporary shorter work weeks.

As I pointed out in a previous post, a little-discussed feature of the European Union is that it’s a partnership between large employers and their workers, not just between countries. Works councils, which are mandatory at most companies, not only enable workers to have veto power over job losses but give them the right to meet with management to discuss mergers and the introduction of new technologies, says Steven Hill in Europe’s Promise.

What’s more, some of the most effective economies are unionized AND European. Four of the 10 best economies are the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. The European Trade Union Confederation consists of 81 unions with 60 million members compared to the AFL-CIO, which represents only 10 million workers., according to Europe’s Promise.

European countries also broker trade deals with other countries. As United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard put it, “If you look at the Scandinavian countries, if you look at Germany they’ve got strategies that include having a balanced trade agenda with China. If the Germans can have a balanced trade agenda why can’t we?”

It will take time and effort to change our labor and trade policies but Americans deserve to know what companies are outsourcing/offshoring their labor so they can choose to boycott them, as I’m doing with Apple products. Unfortunately, the GOP-dominated Congress very likely doesn’t want to offend major U.S. outsourcers, given that these companies are a major source of their campaign contributions — the Chamber of Commerce is the top spender, shelling out more than $885 million since 1998, according to CRP.

Earlier this year the House Republican majority voted down the Peters Outsourcing Accountability Amendment introduced by Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan, which would have required publicly held companies to reveal how many of their employees work overseas. I would urge you to contact your Congressperson (or Peters directly if you’re a New York resident) and urge him/her to ask Peters to re-introduce the bill. It’s a first step in keeping the vital subject of bringing jobs back home on the front burner, not to mention throwing the bums out who would dare impede an effort to bring them back.


GE to Hire 5,000 U.S. Veterans, Investing in Plants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Electric Co plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year.

The largest U.S. conglomerate unveiled the moves ahead of a four-day meeting it is convening in Washington starting on Monday to focus on boosting the U.S. economy, which has been slow to recover from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.

“We should have the confidence to act and to restore American competitiveness,” Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, a top adviser on jobs and the economy to President Barack Obama, said in a statement.

The U.S. unemployment rate — seen as the main barrier to a move vibrant recovery — fell to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent in January, helped in part by the manufacturing sector adding about 50,000 workers. Even with that improvement, 23.8 million Americans remain out of work or underemployed, which is keeping the economy a key issue heading into November’s presidential elections.

The world’s largest maker of jet engines plans this year to open three new U.S. aviation plants, in Ellisville, Mississippi; Auburn, Alabama, and Dayton, Ohio. After cutting headcount significantly during the recession — as did its major peers including United Technologies Corp and Caterpillar Inc — GE has added about 9,000 U.S. workers since 2009, and has already announced plans to hire another 4,500 people.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, whose operations range from making loans to mid-sized businesses to manufacturing railroad locomotives, plans to discuss these moves at the Washington meeting. Boeing Co CEO James McNerney and Dow Chemical Co CEO Andrew Liveris are also scheduled to speak.

(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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