On election day, citizens can cast their votes for politicians with vastly differing views on the future of manufacturing in the United States. With the President's recent executive action allocating funding for advanced manufacturing, the industry has found itself a place in the political spotlight. However, one piece of news that defies politics is that on Tuesday, trade deficit figures didn't provide an encouraging outlook. The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau Report indicates that they've reached an all-time high.
In September, the United States took in $69.2 billion more in foreign imports than it exported, making the year-to-date trade deficit over $534 billion. That figure stands 12 percent higher than last year's, which set a record as the highest at the time.
"It looks like we'll set two straight records unless something drastic happens" before 2014 ends," said Alan Tonelson, who writes the RealityChek blog.
The discouraging figures come at a time when oil prices have fallen and manufacturing initiatives, governmental and private, have helped assist in recovery. Manufacturing organizations and machine shops have also been proactive in establishing recruitment efforts to fortify the labor force as retirees leave the industry. Overall, the numbers indicate a disparity in large part due to American dependence on foreign imports. By bolstering the American manufacturing industry and incentivizing domestic purchasers to buy American, experts hope to see turnaround in competition with China and other international suppliers.
Export figures have also risen 38 percent since 2009. While that growth doesn't match the President's intention to double manufacturing exports in his first term, it indicates that American companies have risen to the occasion in a difficult marketplace, where inexpensive foreign goods still tip the scales.