House Democrats seize on rebound in manufacturing, but call it 'uneven'

Two senior House Democrats on Monday seized on a rebound in the manufacturing sector to tout the party’s efforts on the jobs front but called the recovery "uneven and fragile."

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), noted a new JEC report, called "Promising Signs of Recovery in Manufacturing,” showed sustained growth in a sector hard hit by the recession.

"In the first six months of 2010, 136,000 manufacturing jobs were added," Maloney said on a conference call. "We've had six straight months of growth in manufacturing jobs — the largest stretch since 1997."

But the report noted that the durable goods sector accounted for 130,000 of those new jobs, which Maloney said was a strong indicator "the manufacturing recovery is both uneven and fragile."

With unemployment stuck above 9 percent and little time left to budge that figure before the November elections, House Democrats began fast-tracking their "Make it in America" initiative in the weeks leading up to the August recess.

Hoyer and Maloney said Monday Democrats would continue working to rebuild the fractured manufacturing sector for the remainder of the current Congress and beyond.

"We have a lot more to do," Hoyer said, not just in terms of showing positive results, but in proving to voters that Democrats are serious about making jobs their top priority.

A vibrant, manufacturing-based workforce "has been a hallmark of America's success and the growth of the middle class and the quality of life for the working people in this country," Hoyer said. "As a result, we have decided to now, and into the next Congress, [adopt] a long-term policy of focusing on enhancing the manufacturing sector of our economy so that we do 'Make it in America,' and our individuals have success in America and they can make it in America."

Details were scarce on what legislation would be coming. Hoyer said he and his staff will meet in the coming weeks with the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help develop a more thorough agenda.

"There are a myriad of strategies we want to pursue," the majority leader said. "We've committed ourselves to a long-term agenda ... of enhancing U.S. manufacturing."