President Joe Biden boasted on Friday of a U.S. manufacturing surge and introduced a new small business program in the key swing state of Ohio during his sixth visit there as president
Biden was buoyed by strong numbers earlier in the day that showed the U.S. added 428,000 jobs in April, more than expected and the 12th straight month of job gains in excess of 400,000. Manufacturing has seen the largest 15-month job gain in 15 years, he noted.
"These manufacturing jobs matter because they fuel our economic growth. They fuel exports. And, as we've seen, they can fuel innovation," Biden, a Democrat, said after touring United Performance Metals, a metal manufacturer near Cincinnati.
The president announced an initiative to encourage large companies to adopt an emerging technology known as additive manufacturing.
Driven by 3D printing, the technology allows complex shapes to be built up in layers from particles of plastics or metal. It is viewed by the administration as a sort of innovation that will enable U.S. manufacturers to flourish and create jobs.
The initiative, dubbed AM Forward, is a voluntary program. Companies sign a public commitment to increase use of the technology and also rely on small- to medium-sized U.S.-based supply companies.
GE Aviation GE.N, Siemens Energy ENR1n.DE, Raytheon Technologies RTX.N and Lockheed Martin LMT.N are the initial participants, the official said.
Biden used the visit to call on Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which aims to boost manufacturing in the United States, particularly the production of semiconductor chips.
No longer a 'Rust Belt,' American manufacturing areas are home to smaller companies building chips and other critical components that can help keep prices down, Biden said, which could boost U.S. competitiveness with China.
While Americans are worried about rising prices, more manufacturing facilities across the United States will help, Biden said.
"It matters a great deal, because the pandemic and the economic crisis that we inherited and Putin's war in Ukraine have all shown the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas," he said.
Biden gave a shout out to labor unions that organize workers in many of the companies involved in the new initiative, calling them "the single best workers in the world."
Biden is facing headwinds as he tries to help his fellow Democrats stave off a Republican takeover of Congress in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Inflation is at a 40-year high and gasoline prices are soaring, weighing down Biden's job approval ratings, and Republicans frequently attack Biden's handling of the economy.
Former President Donald Trump took Ohio in 2016 and 2020 in part because of his appeal to Rust Belt voters tired of seeing jobs disappear.
The trip was Biden's sixth to Ohio since taking office in January 2021.
In recent days, he has made more overt political remarks as he girds for the five months of political campaigning. On Wednesday he sharply criticized Trump's devoted followers, referring to them by the MAGA acronym for Trump's Make America Great Again slogan. Read full story
In primaries this week Trump-backed Republican J.D. Vance won the nomination for a U.S. Senate seat while Democratic incumbent Representative Shontel Brown handily defeated progressive candidate Nina Turner in the U.S. congressional district which includes Cleveland. Read full story
(Reporting by Jeff Mason Steve Holland, Susan Heavey and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell)