It has been said that if our $465 billion dollar holiday spending spree was spent on goods made in the USA, it would create 4.6 million jobs or about 1 job per each $100,000 of sales. As of last week (December 2nd, 2011) the number of unemployed Americas (being counted) was 13.3 million or 8.6%. Doing the math, the US Christmas idea would alone bring the unemployment rate down to about 5.6% and add $17.2 billion in income tax revenue to the US treasury at the lowest IRS tax rates. Notwithstanding, it would put dinner on the table all year for a huge number of folks.
I have been out into the stores this year, and of course I read the labels. Yesterday, in fact, I spent $200 at Sears, and every single thing I purchased was made in America. But that is the exception and not the rule, unfortunately. I also spent time in Macy’s, Ann Taylor Loft, Coldwater Creek and many other department and specialty stores (all chains), and never found even so much as a single button made in America. Nothing!
In a previous post I mentioned that after visiting Columbia Sportswear’s flagship store in Portland, Oregon a few weeks back, I found out that their number one request (and a frequent one too) was apparel made in the USA! But nothing in the store was. I called it Columbia’s dirty little secret, but it isn’t theirs alone. This is a common thread with consumers. It is estimated that less than 5% of apparel is still made in the United States.
I continue to say that the retailers who carry and promote products made in the USA not only have a distinct marketing advantage, they will win a high degree of loyalty from their customers. Buying products made in America is almost like finding a prize. I firmly believe that this trend will continue, and just like the “go green” movement, is coming from the grass roots. Washington does not have a clue, or the will to help, so it’s going to be up to us—and that’s the way it should be!