By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden met with a collection of business leaders, governors and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo Wednesday to discuss increasing domestic tech manufacturing to compete with China.
President Biden touted domestic manufacturing growth, saying 432,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created in the U.S. since the beginning of 2021. The economy has seen mixed results in the past year, with job growth rebounding from COVID-era shutdowns alongside increased inflation, supply chain issues and fears of another recession.
The president pointed to companies like Micron and Samsung, saying they are looking to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., a major area of focus for the president in his push for expanded domestic manufacturing.
Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. was one of the signature platforms of former President Donald Trump.
President Biden pushed the “Bipartisan Innovation Act,” which would incentivize high-tech manufacturing in the U.S. on products like semiconductors and microchips through rule changes and federal funding.
“First, it will send a message to the world that America is back in the game, open for investment, commitment, creating clean energy economy and competing to win in the 21st century,” Mr. Biden said. “Second, we are going to create jobs — good-paying, butting edge jobs, manufacturing jobs, many that don’t require a four-year college degree. Third, making it in America is one of the ways that we can address our cost and supply chain challenges.”
Semiconductor chip shortages have become a major issue after recent semiconductor shortages helped drive up the cost of vehicles. Pricing data released in February from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the price of new vehicles increased more than 12% in the previous 12 months while used vehicles saw more than a 40% increase during the same time.
“One of the reasons we need to (pass the bill) is because there is perhaps no production more important than reclaiming America’s leadership and owning our future than semiconductors,” President Biden said. “You know, these semiconductors are the size of a fingertip and power just about everything in our everyday life: smart phones, the internet, appliances, technologies we haven’t invented yet.
“The semiconductor was invented here in the United States of America,” he added. “Over 30 years ago, America had 40% of the global production of semiconductors, but since then something happened. American manufacturing, the backbone of our economy, got hollowed out. Companies moved jobs and production overseas, especially from the industrial Midwest, and the result today, we barely produce 10% of these computer chips despite being a leader on chip design and research.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.