The Washington Post

Editor’s note: The promise of a ‘Made in America’ era

When I was growing up in Cleveland, many relatives and family friends worked in factories making cars and auto parts. Then it became cheaper to manufacture overseas. Plants closed and joblessness rose. But in the past few years, thanks in part to raising labor prices abroad and the U.S. shale gas boom that has cut energy costs here, manufacturing is making a comeback.

A half-million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been created since 2009. While that number pales in comparison to the millions of jobs lost over the past two decades, the “Made in America” sector is basking in recent good news. Ever more clever machines are vastly increasing productivity. More U.S. goods are sold overseas, boosting the economy. Youngstown — an hour’s drive east of Cleveland — is a new hub of innovative manufacturing. In Northeast Ohio, the private sector, the federal government, and colleges are combining resources to develop game-changing technology and better train workers.

In other parts of the country, there are signs of a comeback, too. America is making more cars, medical devices, food, machinery and other products. As Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said at the April 23 manufacturing summit held at The Washington Post, “We want to be a country that makes stuff again, invents things, exports to the world.” Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.) said his state led the South in new manufacturing jobs created last year. Whether workers are making Jack Daniels, chemicals or orthopedic walking boots, Haslam said, “there is a certain pride” associated with turning out a fine product.

This new “Made in America” era holds a lot of promise. Given the global competition, it may also depend on how much the country invests in fostering cutting-edge technology and training workers.

— Mary Jordan

Editor, Washington Post Live


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
This isn't your daddy's gun club
A look inside the world of Candomblé
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure