SALEM, Ore. - Manufacturing jobs are beginning to return to Oregon and around the country, but not fast enough.
The nation's unemployment rate continues to hover around 8 percent.
This month, the U.S. Senate is expected to take up a bill aimed at creating more good-paying jobs. The "Bring Our Jobs Home Act" would give companies a tax credit to bring jobs back, and it would end loopholes that give businesses tax breaks when they relocate overseas.
Tom Chamberlain, president of Oregon AFL-CIO, says it's only fair.
"We can't continue to say we want to bring jobs home, while at the same time we reward corporations with taxpayer money when they ship our jobs overseas," Chamberlain said
Chamberlain says 50,000 manufacturers closed their doors in Oregon and around the nation in the past 10 years, costing 10 million Americans their jobs.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Oregon's manufacturing jobs pay about $66,000 a year.
However, Chamberlain says there are not enough of them. Nationwide growth in manufacturing jobs slowed in the second quarter.
Currently, corporations that move overseas get a tax deduction for moving expenses, and they are allowed to defer taxes on money they make on foreign operations. Chamberlain says that's costly.
"We need to address the $1.5 trillion that U.S. corporations have overseas in that untaxed money," he said.
While Portland's job picture is beginning to improve, he adds, other areas of the state are not so fortunate.
"You have double-digit unemployment in some of those counties," Chamberlain said. "These manufacturing jobs mean a lot to our economy. You're talking about tens of thousands of jobs."
The bill also would let consumers know when their calls for service are sent overseas and give them the option of being transferred back to a call center in the United States.
Two Oregon Democrats - Sen. Jeff Merkley and Congressman Earl Blumenauer - are co-sponsors of the bill.
Chris Thomas of Oregon News Service prepared this report.