August 6, 2003
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today used her keynote speech at a nationally recognized meeting of automotive industry executives and experts to call for actions that will address the nation’s dramatic loss of manufacturing jobs. Granholm vowed to enlist her fellow manufacturing governors in the fight to maintain the country’s vital manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturing matters in Michigan and the United States,” said Granholm. “We’re not just creating products, we’re building lives. Manufacturing jobs are largely responsible for creating the middle class in Michigan and the Unites States, providing opportunities for millions of families nationwide to participate in the American Dream. The manufacturing industry itself is the backbone of our national economy and defense. We simply cannot allow our manufacturing nucleus to erode as it has so dramatically done in the past several years.”
Granholm used today’s speech as a wake-up call to those outside the industry to recognize the serious consequences posed by heavy losses in manufacturing capacity and employment. She vowed to become the “saleswoman in chief” for Michigan as a business center and offered a three-step plan for elevating the national discourse on maintaining manufacturing jobs in the United States. Granholm will:
•gather Michigan’s manufacturing industry leaders to explore issues and solutions in a state-level summit in the next several months;
•encourage the governors of the nation’s other top manufacturing states to hold similar meetings in their states; and
•encourage those governors to gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss state and federal actions needed to sustain the nation’s manufacturing industry.
The Governor made her remarks at the opening session of the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City. Approximately 1,300 automotive industry participants are represented at the weeklong event.
While the Governor began her address by reviewing the good news coming out of Michigan this year, including major new investments announced by each of the Big Three automakers, she also cited grave statistics to reinforce the immediacy of manufacturing’s problems. After a decade of steady losses, U.S. manufacturing took a precipitous nosedive with the loss of more than two million jobs in 2001-2002. Michigan lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the same two-year period.
During her remarks, Granholm vowed to actively court new investments and jobs from the manufacturers and suppliers present at the conference. Michigan’s outstanding quality of life and competitive tax base make the state an ideal location for citing new facilities and plants, she added.