Biden in Michigan takes credit for new manufacturing jobs but it’s still at pre-pandemic levels


President Biden on Tuesday visited a computer chip manufacturing site in the swing state of Michigan, where he boasted about his record of creating manufacturing jobs.

Mr. Biden traveled to Bay City, Michigan, to highlight the $300 million expansion of a semiconductor manufacturing plant. The facility, run by the U.S. subsidiary of South Korean company SK Siltron, is expected to quadruple its production over the next few years. That expansion will create an estimated 150 jobs.

“We’re strengthening American manufacturing. We’ve created more jobs in the first two years of any presidency, 735,000 manufacturing jobs, and counting,” Mr. Biden said.

While the number of manufacturing jobs increased on Mr. Biden‘s watch, it’s unclear how many were created because of his policies and how much is a bounce-back from COVID-19 shutdowns.

The COVID-19 pandemic destroyed the manufacturing industry as business shutdowns resulted in the elimination of 1.4 million jobs between February 2020 to April 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 800,000 of those jobs had been restored by the time Mr. Biden took office in January 2021.

The most recent Labor Department statistics show that roughly 630,000 manufacturing jobs have been created between February 2021 and August 2022. That would bring the number of manufacturing jobs to pre-pandemic levels, but not above pre-pandemic levels.

U.S. manufacturing jobs still lag behind historical highs. Since peaking in 1979, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has dropped by one-third, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Over the same period, the number of available workers in all U.S. sectors had grown by 57%.

Republican lawmakers criticized Mr. Biden‘s visit to Michigan, blaming him for the fragile U.S. economy which some analysts says is either in a recession or on the verge of one.

Rep. John Mollenarr, Michigan Republican, said Mr. Biden “has already failed Michigan families and his massive partisan spending bills have helped cause record-high inflation.” 

The visit comes months after Mr. Biden approved legislation providing the chip manufacturers with more than $52 billion in subsidies and $24 billion in tax credits to produce microprocessor chips in the U.S.

During his remarks, Mr. Biden took credit for recent manufacturing job gains. He bragged that the chips bill and his infrastructure law spurred record manufacturing job growth.

Mr. Biden said companies around the globe are now looking to make investments in U.S. manufacturing, including a new plant outside of Columbus, Ohio that created 5,000 full-time jobs of which 80% don’t require college degrees and pay an average salary of $126,000.

“Where is it written that America will not lead the world in manufacturing again,” Mr. Biden shouted. “Where is it written? Now the United States is a top destination for companies across the globe looking to make investments in manufacturing again.”


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