In January, Etsy will start to allow sellers with approval to partner with manufacturers to produce their products.
KnowTheChain.org is an online resource that lists which businesses have a policy against human rights abuses in their supply chains. Lori Bishop, director of investments at Humanity United, says its the first step in a long-term strategy to engage businesses in a dialogue about human trafficking. Also on the market: apps that allow consumers to examine a company's ethical practices before making a purchase. Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC's New Tech City, joins The Takeaway to discuss these apps.
This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August jobs report, which shows the economy added 169,000 jobs last month. In addition to adding jobs, the unemployment rate dipped, though only to 7.3 percent. WNYC's Business and Economic Editor, Charlie Herman, joins The Takeaway to explain what these numbers mean and how the Fed might react.
Paulson & Co., a hedge fund that made a fortune betting against the housing market, is now putting a bet on Steinway, the 160-year old piano maker.
There was a time when ships launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Dozens of laborers killed in the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh last week were laid to rest Wednesday in a mass funeral.
For the manufacturing sector to bounce back in the U.S. after years of shrinking, one thing that will come in handy is a directory for domestic manufacturers and small businesses to find one another. A New York City startup is now hoping to bridge that gap.
A New York City-based website is using new technology to help sustain and even grow America’s industrial base.
At the Navy Yard in Brooklyn, one company is making ergonomic spoons for babies that might just represent the future of manufacturing in the U.S.
Politicians for years have been calling for the U.S. to end its dependence on foreign oil. Well, that time could be fast approaching. Now what?
The rising cost of labor in China, high-tech robots, and even 3D printing are bringing manufacturing operations back to the United States. But will it guarantee more jobs for American workers?
When New York passed a wave of new gun-control laws in January, it outlawed a type of assault rifle made just over an hour's drive from the state capital.
Grey is the new black when it comes to post-Turkey shopping. In a growing phenomenon known as "Grey Thursday," more of the largest U.S. retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day, offering consumers deals a day earlier than Black Friday.
Ohio is on the economic mend — the Lordstown GM plant is humming, along with a brand new billion-dollar steel plant and the discovery of shale natural gas — but can Obama claim credit? Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich talked with workers and undecided voters on this battleground to find out.
On March 5, 1853 a German piano maker named Henry Steinway (né Steinweg) founded Steinway & Sons at 85 Varick Street in New York City, barely five blocks from the present-day WNYC studios. Less than three months later another, much younger German piano maker named Helmuth Kranich would arrive at these shores. Little did he suspect that one of his children would someday work at a competing form of entertainment: radio, specifically WNYC.
The revival of American manufacturing has been a constant refrain in presidential campaigns, and 2012 is no exception. But does American manufacturing have a future? In a new book, "Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance," Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih argue that it must — and that manufacturing is the key to American innovation.
Ro Khanna, a former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, argues that, despite everything you've heard about the economy, America continues to be a world leader in manufacturing. In Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future, he shows that innovative companies are staying ahead of the curve, and looks at why the American steel industry, aerospace companies, the defense technology sector are still world leaders.
This year is BART’s 40th birthday. While some people swear that 40 is the new 30, when it comes to subway systems, 40 is just plain over-the-hill. About two-thirds of Bay Area Rapid Transit cars have been running the rails since the system opened, in 1972.
Paul Oversier is in charge of operations at BART. He says that because BART trains run long distances and at higher speeds than other subway systems, it gives the system a dubious distinction. “We have the oldest cars, and we run them the hardest,” he says.
It’s time for new trains. But building them won’t be cheap: BART estimates it will cost more than $3 billion to replace all 775 cars.
Right now, three companies are in the running to build the new fleet. One is in France, one is in South Korea, and third is in Canada.
Scott Haggerty is an Alameda County Supervisor who sits on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He’s not surprised that bids for the massive job are coming in from all over the world, but he doesn’t think the world should build BART’s cars.
“At a minimum, those cars should be built in the U.S.,” says Haggerty. “But that’s not even going to make me happy. Those cars should be built within the BART district.”
On paper, it makes sense. Building BART cars here would mean keeping those billions of dollars, and thousands of jobs, where BART riders actually live. According to BART’s Paul Oversier, there’s just one problem. “There haven’t been any domestic subway car builders in the United States for decades,” he says.
Oversier says even if BART wanted to give the contract to a U.S. company, they couldn’t do it – the last domestic company that built subway cars closed up shop in 1987. But, he says, that doesn’t mean no Americans will benefit from the project. “It's really a misnomer to say the cars are being built overseas,” he says. “They're being built in the United States, using American parts, using American workers. It just so happens that the corporation that’s operating that plant is an international corporation.”
To understand how this works, you need to know about a law known as “Buy America.” It’s been around since 1983.
Scott Paul is the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry group based in Washington DC. He says it doesn’t matter if a company is foreign or domestic, as long as the manufacture happens in the U.S.
“The idea is that through that taxpayer investment, we’ll be supporting jobs in this country as opposed to a place like China, for instance,” says Paul.
The idea of buying American has guided some of the country’s signature transportation projects. As far back as 1933, Congress required that federally financed construction projects use American materials.
“We’ve had this policy through the building of the interstate highway system,” says Paul. “Ronald Reagan actually expanded it to transit programs.”
Almost three-quarters of the money BART is using to pay for the new cars comes from the federal government. Under Buy America, that means whichever company gets the contract has to do at least 60% of that work in the U.S. But BART doesn’t get to decide where in the U.S. that work gets done––they have to go where the companies are. So while the cars could be built in California, BART can’t require that.
“There’s not an enormous demand for subway cars in the United States,” says Paul. “So it doesn’t make a lot of sense for several manufacturers to have a permanent presence when the market is so sporadic and limited to just a few big city agencies.”
Right now, none of the car builders BART is considering have plants in California. That’s what bothers Supervisor Scott Haggerty. He thinks agencies like BART should be able to use federal dollars to do their projects in-state––and to encourage companies to set up new plants here. Right now, that’s illegal.
“But who set that rule?” asks Haggerty. “When you say it’s illegal, that’s because Congress said it’s illegal. Congress can fix that.”
Last year, BART officials sponsored legislation in California allowing them to give extra weight to bids from foreign companies that exceed Buy America requirements.
So now the agency can legally reward companies that create more American jobs. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no infrastructure to do the work in California.
Right now, the car builders BART is considering have plants in New York and Philadelphia. “But that’s not to say that they might not open a plant somewhere else,” says BART’s Paul Oversier. “It’s a big enough order that the economics might be such for the car builders that it might make sense, from a business standpoint, to open a plant somewhere else. But that bridge will be crossed later on.”
BART expects final bids on the new cars by the end of February. The agency hopes to make a final recommendation to the board in about six weeks.