For everyone who wants the United States to become a (bigger) manufacturing powerhouse again — so, most people in the U.S., and every member of Congress — a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group is a mixed blessing. On Friday, BCG released its rankings of cost competitiveness in manufacturing around the world, and the U.S. came in second place, after China. It is now more cost effective to produce goods in the U.S. than Brazil, the report found.
The U.S., along with Mexico, is one of the BCG's "rising stars" of global manufacturing, for having "significantly improved relative to nearly all other leading exporters across the globe." At least 300 companies have brought their manufacturing back to the U.S. from overseas, because "it just makes economic sense," BCG senior partner Hal Sirkin, a co-author of the report, tells Yahoo News. "The gap is closing and, when you add the transportation costs, it makes a lot more sense for a lot of products to be made in the U.S. than in China."
That sounds great, right? But remember what made China so alluring to manufacturers in the first place — low labor costs, lax environmental standards, and overworked factory workers? Here's BCG's explanation for why the U.S. is back in the manufacturing game:
The key reasons were stable wage growth, sustained productivity gains, steady exchange rates, and a big energy-cost advantage that is largely driven by the 50 percent fall in natural-gas prices since large-scale production of U.S. shale gas began in 2005. [BCG]
Another way of saying that: Fracking, foreign exchange rates, and that "stable wage growth," which Reuters calls "a euphemism for the fact that, in inflation-adjusted terms, industrial wages here are lower today than they were in the 1960s even though worker productivity has doubled over the same period of time." The only one of those factors that isn't controversial is the stronger yuan.
As this chart from The New York Times shows, the jobs that have been created in the post–Great Recession recovery have skewed toward the low end of the pay scale:
Most manufacturing jobs pay pretty decently, especially compared with fast food service. But as we celebrate the return of the American manufacturing sector, it's worth remembering that it's only partly because "Made in China" is becoming more expensive — "Made in the USA" is also becoming cheaper, for better and for worse.
Ben Carson isn't sticking around to see how he does tonight in New Hampshire's presidential primary — he's already on the road to South Carolina, CBS News reports. According to a statement released by his campaign Tuesday afternoon, "After several stops meeting with New Hampshire voters, supporters, and media today, Dr. Carson will be en route to South Carolina to continue his campaign for faith, integrity, and common sense leadership."
Carson, then, will be missing his own primary night event. However, the campaign's statement stressed that Carson is not dropping out of the race and that it was "sad" that the media is "pre-occupied with dissecting the minutia of [Carson's] schedule."
New Hampshire residents asking Google if Jeb Bush is related to George, when Bernie Sanders was born
It's primary day in the Granite State, and New Hampshire residents are using Google to ask questions about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, and if they're still even in the race.
Google reports that the top trending questions on Hillary Clinton revolve around her stand on the issues, where she went to college, where she will be on Wednesday, who could beat her in the general election, and what Bill Clinton will be called if she wins the election. When it comes to Bernie Sanders, the people want to know if he's pro-choice, how he made his money, when his birthday is, and where he is right now. The top two most searched issues are the same for both candidates: Immigration is number one, followed by gun control.
On the crowded Republican side, the top searched candidate is Donald Trump, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The trending questions for Jeb Bush revolve primarily around his family and name and questions that don't have answers yet — "How old was Jeb Bush when his dad was president?" "Is Jeb Bush related to George Bush?" "Who is Jeb Bush's running mate?" "Is Jeb short for anything?" Ben Carson's top trending question asks if he's "qualified to be president," and New Hampshire residents also are curious to know "Is Ted Cruz a Democrat?" and "Why does Ted Cruz wear two watches?" Three of the trending questions for John Kasich relate to abortion and women's health care, and people are also wondering if Rubio "is American" and if "Chris Christie was charged in Bridgegate."
The oft-forgotten Jim Gilmore should be pleased that the top trending question about him is "What are the pros and cons of Jim Gilmore?" Unfortunately, people also want to know "Is Jim Gilmore still running?" and "Who is Jim Gilmore?" Catherine Garcia
In a 5-4 ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court put a hold on the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon emission rules during an appeals process, Reuters reports. States and industry groups brought the legal challenge. The Supreme Court's ruling is a blow to President Obama, whose federal regulations had intended to limit carbon dioxide emissions at power plants to combat climate change. The hold could last for several years as the appeals process moves through the lower courts. Jeva Lange
Ohio Gov. John Kasich believes that unlike his rivals in the Republican field, he took the high road in his presidential campaign, and because of that, "we feel the momentum."
"There will be no regrets in the Kasich campaign for all the work we've put in, the positivity of all of it," he told CNN Tuesday. Kasich said candidates like Jeb Bush have spent millions on ads attacking him, and it's a "shame to see people take the low road to the highest office in the land."
Speaking of Bush, Kasich has some advice for his campaign: chill. "They're getting more and more desperate," he said. "They need to relax a little bit. You know, it's just an election, a campaign. It's like they're freaking out. Calm down, Bush people. It's not that serious." Catherine Garcia
As interesting as it might be to hear who the presidential candidates would pick to win the Super Bowl, there is an art to asking tough questions on the campaign trail. Thanks to a Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee, hundreds of political activists are now equipped with the tools they need to hunt down candidates on the trail and get their questions answered, The Intercept reports.
"It might be at a cafe like this. We find out a candidate will be there and we have a volunteer and he says, 'I'll go and have coffee,'" the New Hampshire co-director Arnie Alpert said at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.
The organization has taught more than 1,100 activists in Iowa and New Hampshire how to formulate important questions, approach candidates, and record the interactions to be spread on social media. During one recent coaching session in New Hampshire, military veterans were taught to make eye contact and introduce themselves as vets to the candidates, although the actual questions were up to them. John Hurd was one such student who attended a Carly Fiorina event at the Nashua Radisson Hotel the day after the lesson:
After Carly Fiorina gave her stump speech, she said she would take a few questions. Jason Hurd, a veteran who participated in the training, shot his hand up and was called on first.
"As an Army combat medic — and I spent a year in Baghdad, policing Iraqis with sometimes brutal tactics — now I see police here at home using the same tactics, with the same weapons, and the same equipment that I used, on black communities," he said. "What would your presidency do to end the militarization of police and stop cops from killing everyday Americans?"
"Thank you for your service, first of all," Fiorina responded. Then she ignored the question, choosing instead to tear into Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for withdrawing troops too quickly from Iraq. [The Intercept]
Voting is well underway in New Hampshire, but a handful of farm animals are hoping they might be able to sway last-minute undecideds. Reporting from the center of the action in Manchester, Nancy Chen of Boston's WHDH spotted a few Bernie-backing barnyard critters who came out to "support" the Vermont senator.
Take a look at the menagerie, below. Jeva Lange
"Is that a Bernie cow?" It is apparently a Scottish Highlander, & owner says both cow and his bro support Sanders pic.twitter.com/Gkn2BYAUgv
— Nancy Chen (@NancyChenNews) February 9, 2016
— Nancy Chen (@NancyChenNews) February 9, 2016
Adding to menagerie of farm animals at this Manchester hotel is this pig -- also for Bernie Sanders pic.twitter.com/ynA3AHLwex
— Nancy Chen (@NancyChenNews) February 9, 2016
America's neighbors aren't so happy about the possibility of a President Trump: In a poll released Tuesday, it was revealed that most Canadians fear "the very prospect" of Donald Trump being elected president, Politico reports.
Nearly two-in-three Canadians polled said they were fearful of Trump in the White House, with only 23 percent saying the thought didn't give them chills. The majority of Canadians preferred that the States elect Hillary Clinton — she was viewed favorably by 54 percent of those polled.
Canadians might not be losing too much sleep over the American elections, however: Only 19 percent think Trump would actually win a general election, and 55 percent said they think there is a President Clinton in the future.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz — who is Canadian-born — was only viewed favorably by 14 percent of Canadians. Thirty-six percent of Canadians said they don't even know who he is.
The poll was conducted by Canadian polling firm Leger from Feb. 1-4, and sponsored by the newspapers Le Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir. It surveyed 1,524 Canadian voters, and had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. Jeva Lange