11
Nov
14

The US Economy is Strong, but Rural America Disagrees: The Correlation with Clothing Made in the USA

Urban, Rural Divide Growing Deeper Throughout US – NBC News.com. The economy of the United States has been making a comeback, in fact, by the numbers, the U.S.economy is quite strong – unemployment down to 5.8% from a high a 10.5%, 10.3 million jobs created since 2010, GDP up by 4.6%, and in certain areas especially big cities like New York City, Austin, Texas, Denver, Colorado and the San Francisco/San Jose, CA, growth has been gang-busters. Did you know that the Bay Area has created as many jobs than it did in the Dotcom boom and it will easily surpass it this next year with even greater growth predicted. However, certain areas have not felt the economic recovery especially in rural areas. Why is this? The above link is a 2 minute 47 second video (from Meet The Press featuring Chuck Todd and Luke Russert shown on 11/9/14) which highlights the fact that rural areas feel left out of the economic recovery.

Why Cover the subject 0f Rural Areas Feeling Left out in the Recovery and Clothing Made in USA.

The reason I am covering this subject on this blog is because rural area economic growth correlates directly with clothing made in America as many garment factories were located in rural areas.  Let me illustrate. In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was an industrial powerhouse, manufacturing was extremely plentiful in the union-strong Northeast states, like New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. At that time clothing manufacturing in the US was about 70%. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, the CEO’s (back then they were the Chairman of the Board) of the industries made a conscious effort to get rid of unions by moving their plants down South and into rural areas where wages were cheaper, unions were scarce, and the States were hungry for work as their traditional sources of labor: farming had been drying up (and it continues to dry up).
Everything was good until the CEO’s got even greedier. Even though there weren’t unions to break, there were higher profits to be made if “globalization” and Free Trade were embraced (this was all started with The Ronald Reagan administration – starting in the 1980s, but gaining steam in the 1990’s). So, with globalization, CEO’s outsourced American jobs at a record-breaking rate – the main beneficiary being China.

Loss of manufacturing jobs 1980 - 2012

Loss of manufacturing jobs 1980 – 2012

The outsourcing of American jobs, then caused a massive loss of manufacturing jobs (which are usually better paying jobs) – Not apparent at first due to the internet boom but quite severe in the 2000’s even before The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) hit.  During the 2000’s, manufacturing of clothing in the United States had decreased to 2% because, as mentioned before, many of these plants were located in Southern rural areas. The rural areas were hit especially hard, but the rural areas had been feeling the strain even before The Great Recession hit.

The Recovery from The Great Recession

In the midst of The Great Recession, an Economic Stimulus was passed in 2009 and after a few months, the Great Recession officially ended, and for the first time in 15 years the was an actual increase in manufacturing jobs, however, the levels were nowhere near to the levels of 2000 or even 2005. Nor will manufacturing ever come anywhere close to 2000 unless there is a change in policy to stimulate manufacturing or a change in attitudes where Americans starting buying American made again. Whereas, the big cities have had to re-invent themselves, it was easier for the big cities because of more assets, more finances and more people. Rural areas have never been able to change quickly and there really is not much hope on the horizon.

The Result of The Mid-Term 2014 Elections

As rural America felt pessimistic about the recovery, their voters voiced their displeasure by voting out members of the Democratic Party, because the President is a Democrat. But, paradoxically, it was the Republican Party’s continued pursuit of Free Trade Agreements and outsourcing that caused the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the rural areas. Furthermore, as the Republican Party has taken over control of both, The Senate and The House of Representatives, there will be a further pursuit of more Free Trade Agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Treaty (which have been fought by the Democrats). Experts at the Asian Pacific Economic Council (APEC) 2014, now, are quite confident that the TPP will be passed by mid 2015. (President Obama will not veto this legislation.) This means outsourcing of more jobs to additional countries and probable worsening of the economies of rural communities. Why is there this lack of knowledge? I mean 98% of Americans no nothing about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. One reason is that the talks are secret. Really, they are secret. The second reason is because there are no true news channels. There was a time when CBS had Walter Cronkite and real news was delivered. Even though CBS lost money broadcasting the news, they felt it was their civic duty. Now, the “Media” delivers entertainment. No real in-depth news, only little sound bites. Americans have been dumbed down. And if there are corporate interests involved, they get no press at all. So get ready, in the next two years expect to hear more ideas on decreasing taxes for corporations and more Free Trade agreements. Nothing like repeating mistakes of the past. Buy Americans and hire your neighbor.

See also the newspaper article: Escaping the Wealth Gap May Mean Fleeing Midwest Factory Towns by Tammy Webber of Associated Press.

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