Economic Adjustment Strategies for the 21st Century

Note:  The SVA/Heartland Capital Strategies are working with the Century Foundation and Congress on developing the architecture behind these ideas. 

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the frustration and anger observed across the political spectrum, it’s that too many Americans have borne the brunt of rapid and dramatic economic disruption -- changes stemming from technological progress, trade agreements, globalization, and shifts in government policy -- without seeing any upside. Their real concerns make it critical that we offer new solutions to empower communities, companies, and workers to succeed in a changing economic landscape, with a special focus on these “economic adjustment” programs for Americans who are most affected by profound economic changes.

That’s why, last week, Sen. Shelley Moore (R-W.Va.) and I sent a letter calling on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review current federal government economic adjustment programs and identify options for a more comprehensive policy response. As an independent, nonpartisan agency, GAO is responsible for investigating how Congress spends taxpayer dollars. We believe that a review by GAO of the current programs is a necessary first step to understanding the parameters of a more effective economic agenda.

To date, lawmakers of both parties have sought to address the impacts of economic challenges with discrete economic adjustment programs focused on the causes of the disruption. Here’s a quick overview of those programs.

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Discovered: Philadelphia’s high-tech, totally natural plumbing of 1812

by Steve Hendrix | May 6, 2017

Philadelphia was little more than a decade removed from serving as the nation’s capital when a work gang on Spruce Street began installing the latest in 1812 sanitation technology: a water main made of hollow tree trunks.

The sections of 10-foot pine logs, laboriously drilled to create a 4- to 6-inch center opening and bound together by iron couplings, connected the expanding edge of the city to the water tanks that stood on a hill less than a mile away.

The wooden plumbing supplied timber-tasting water to residents who could either fill their buckets for free at a public standpipe or pay $5 a year to connect directly to faucets in their yards or kitchens. The logs served for two decades until the city replaced them with 12-inch, cast-iron pipes in 1831, according to Adam Levine, resident historian at the Philadelphia Water Department.

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Fewer Workers Selling Stuff, More Workers Doing Stuff

by Conor Sen | Bloomberg

The U.S. has shed jobs in the retail sector, which is not as bad as it sounds. Those people become more productive in other jobs.

The retail sector in the U.S. has shed jobs month after month. That's not bad news.

The U.S. economy is shifting workers from jobs with low productivity -- like retail -- to jobs with high productivity -- like making things and providing services. That could be part of the answer for how the economy can get back to growing as rapidly as it once did.

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Manufacturing Renaissance Video Captures Students' Interest

 

The Manufacturing Renaissance team is pleased to announce the completion of its new video. Its primary function is to introduce their operating philosophy and the concept of a complex community development eco-system around advanced manufacturing, while providing a snapshot of the  'on the ground'  impact of their work.  

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Future of manufacturing on display

 

Kent King, 60, of Penn Hills describes how to operate a machine to his wife, Stacey Poole, on Friday at the opening of the University of Pittsburgh Manufacturing Assistance Center in Homewood. Mr. King, a computer and manufacturing student at the center, will start his four months of training next month.

The new facility will provide Homewood residents and the surrounding communities with training in advanced manufacturing.

Article originally posted at:  http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2017/04/29/University-of-Pittsburgh-Manufacturing-Assistance-Center-Homewood/stories/201704290105?pgpageversion=pgevoke

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Hoffman Industries Creates Steel Tubing "Reshoring" Team


Sinking Spring PA-Based Tube Manufacturer Helps Customers Make it in the USA

April 04, 2017 09:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SINKING SPRING, Pa.--BUSINESS WIRE--Hofmann Industries Inc announced Tuesday that it has created a team of sales, manufacturing, engineering, and logistics professionals to help customers identify cost advantages of sourcing steel tubing and tubular products in the United States. The company identified success in various industries, and highlighted its success in reshoring tubular product used in household storage items.

The last 20 years has been marked by a massive shift of primary manufacturing of metal components to suppliers in Southeast Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. The changes in the marketplace has forced companies like Hofmann to focus on speed of manufacturing, more efficient lot sizes and improved logistics and support.

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The Ups and Downs of Made in the USA

by Laura Putre | January 30, 2017

For many companies, the 2008-09 recession was a time to scale back. But for Michael Araten, CEO and president of the toy company K’Nex Industries, it was a time to rethink and regroup.

K’Nex, which makes Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs as well as its eponymous brightly colored building sets, followed the trend of offshoring in the late 1990s, and by the early 2000s had outsourced most of its toymaking to China.

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