President Obama's car czar is about to become his manufacturing czar as well, the Detroit News reports. Obama said today he will name auto adviser Ron Bloom, who took over for Steven Ratner in July as head of the auto industry restructuring team, his senior counselor for manufacturing policy, and noted that US manufacturing grew last month for the first time in 18 months. "It's a sign that we're on the right track to economic recovery, but that we still have a long way to go," Obama said.
Bloom, a former investment banker who oversaw the restructuring of Chrysler and GM, faces huge challenges in the manufacturing sector: US payrolls lost 216,00 jobs last month, 30% of which were in manufacturing; and the country has lost 5.4 million factory jobs over the past 9 years. Thus far, the Obama administration has aimed its manufacturing strategy at creating "green collar" jobs in wind, solar, and electric vehicle projects.