President Obama will be in upstate New York today touring a General Electric factory and showcasing that company's successes. Mr. Obama just named GE's chief executive the head of a new panel on jobs and competitiveness. GE boss Jeff Immelt has been speaking about the need to focus on manufacturing and increase the country's exports.
While the housing sector's troubles continue to drag down the U.S. economy, manufacturing is doing well, largely because of strong sales overseas.
The exports boom has helped the manufacturing sector grow at a pace three times faster than the rest of the economy. According to federal data released last week, exports rose for the third straight month in November to nearly $160 billion.
Overseas customers are buying more U.S. airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods, industrial supplies, cotton, computers and more.
The 112th Congress convenes for the first time Wednesday. Republicans now hold the majority in the House, and gained seats in the Senate. What does that means for economic policy? David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to Steve Inskeep about the economic agenda of the new Congress.