Mr. President, how about those job thingys

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President Obama is about due for another “pivot toward job creation”. We can’t remember just when the last pivot but hey, we’re old and our memory is not what it used to be. We think. Anyway, it seems like there was another jobs pivot just a couple of weeks ago and it came and went in about a heartbeat.

The point of all this snark is that Reuters is reporting today about the first of President Obama’s “manufacturing innovation hubs” in Youngstown, Ohio.

The President announced, with appropriate fanfare, in his 2013 State of the Union address that he was creating these hubs to attract new manufacturing and create great, middle class jobs that would revitalize the area where the hubs are located. Youngstown was the first hub and seven more are planned by the end of the year in Chicago, Detroit, Raleigh, and four other US metro areas hard hit by unemployment and economic problems.

With this Presidential initiative, you should think “O’manufacturing”. This plan appears to be about as well thought out as “O’healthinsurance”.

One of the biggest challenges is the nature of factory innovation itself, which often reduces, rather than bolsters, the need for workers who aren’t very skilled. That means the manufacturing initiative could help create jobs for people with highly specialized skills, such as engineers, but it may do far less to help people struggling to find work after the shuttering of local steel mills.

Three-D printers, the focus of the Youngstown project, are an example of this. Once they are programmed and loaded with raw materials, they work their magic with nary a human hand. If they are ever widely adopted, researchers say a big reason will be that they use less labor than traditional manufacturing.

Heck of a job Sparky.

The President asked Congress for $1B to set up 45 of these thingys, the money is tied up in Congress, thankfully, and he’s stealing money from the military for the first seven.

Here’s the net result of the project so far in Youngstown, keeping in mind that we don’t know how much the administration spent on the project or what, if any, their initial goal was.

The Youngstown hub is still in its very early stages but so far, at least, there are no obvious signs of a wider impact. About 29,600 people held factory jobs in the Youngstown metro area in January, the latest month for which data are available. That’s actually slightly lower than the number of manufacturing jobs there when the administration awarded the hub to Youngstown in August 2012 and when it opened its doors that October. Total employment in the area was flat in 2013, while it grew nationwide.

Of six organizations in Youngstown and Cleveland – the nearest major city in the state – working on America Makes projects, none has made new hires for the work.

So, money spent, no return. It’s a government project.

How about we look at something that is adding jobs, lots and lots of really good paying jobs, to the economy.

Signs of pride and prosperity were evident all over Williamsport and the gorgeous northern Pennsylvania countryside around it. Friendly, happy people greeted us. New cars, trucks, hotels and restaurants sparkled in a clean, bustling downtown. New roofs topped barns and houses, while late model tractors worked the fields. Former dirt roads are now paved.

Men and women again have high-paying jobs, young people are coming back instead of moving away, their salaries are supporting other businesses and jobs, and many are taking college programs in oilfield technical and business specialties…

What could be causing that to happen? Could it be an administration jobs initiative that we missed?

Hydraulic fracturing has created 1.7 million new direct and indirect jobs in the United States, with the total likely to rise to 3 million jobs over the next seven years, IHS Global Insight reports. It has injected billions into North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other state economies. It’s added $62 billion to federal and state treasuries, with that total expected to rise to $111 billion by 2020.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking” is the bearer of this good news. Fracking is an initiative of private industry and they’ve been fought tooth and nail by the Obama administration’s EPA and every blue state governor in the nation.

The boom that we’re seeing from fracking is happening almost exclusively in red states and only on privately developed lands. Federal lands, which hold huge reservoirs of gas and oil that could be safely recovered by fracking are off limits thanks to the Obama administration. They’re building solar and wind powered turkeys instead and keeping people unemployed and the US economy on a code blue.

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