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tv   Exxon BP Shell Chevron Executives Testify on Climate Change - Part 2  CSPAN  November 19, 2021 1:07pm-1:46pm EST

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emissions by half by 2030, i don't know the exact tonnage of that. that number is not familiar to me, but what i can say is scope three, you're right, it is the vast majority of the emissions, is created from the product, the use of the product we sell. we will be net zero including scope three by 2050, that is our target for 2050. it includes scope three. >> okay. your press release says -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now am calling for a quick five-minute recess. it is the request from the witnesses. we stand in recess.
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>> the meeting will come to order. without objection, mr. casten is authorized to participate in today's hearing. mr. casten, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. and thank you to all our witnesses. i know it's been a long day. i want to just start by saying as a chemical engineer by training, who spent a while as an engineer and worked with chemical companies, i love engineering. you can look at the temperature and heat exchange and predict with amazing accuracy how the yield is going to change on the other side of your refinery because of the temperature. i think it's no surprise that innovations like yourselves who employ a lot of smart people like that, they're actually pretty good at how changes in
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chemistry affect the temperature. and in fact, in 1978, as you know, to this presentation to exxon, where he says that he predicted we would have a doubling in c 02 around 2025, and that would lead to a 1 to 3 degree increase in temperature, which is basically exactly where we are, so mr. woods, kudos. you hire exceptionally talented people. i commend you. we know that in the light of that information, you denied that you funded the global climate coalition, you funded research that was in contrarian climate stances. i don't want to go into that, but i do want to talk about something in the news this week. we have all this information coming out that facebook is phenomenally good at selling disinformation. they're really good at inflaming it. they can convince people that vaccines are bad. they can convince people to take horse medicine. they can even convince people that it's patriotic to attack
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the united states government. good people. so in light of that, in light of this amazing information, amazing tool to spread disinformation, in light of the fact that you guys have actively worked to spread that disinformation, it is intriguing to me that in 2021, according to influence map, exxon has spent $4 million on facebook ads, 75% of that money has been since june, and in fact, your digital advertising spend was running $50,000 a week in march and got up to $600,000 a week in october. mr. woods, do you dispute those numbers about your advertising? >> i don't have those numbers available to me. >> sound about right, though? >> i don't have a good view of those numbers. >> could you speculate what might have been going on in the last month that would cause you to rapidly increase your spending on a platform that is designed to spread disinformation? >> congressman, i would make the point that i think differences of opinion are not
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disinformation. >> respectfully, sir, the law of dynamics, we're not going there. i just want to know, do you know why you were amping up your spending on facebook in the last few weeks, by a factor of 12? >> i don't know what our spending on facebook is. it's hard for me to comment on what changed. >> okay. well, there is something going on that seems to be getting a lot of attention. it seems dispositive. mr. sommers, that same analysis analyzed a little over 25,000 ads from the fossil fuel industry. they found that 20% of those were from american petroleum institute, they were promoting natural gas as a climate solution. now, again, i go back to my friends in the chemical engineering sector. methane is about 84 times as potent a greenhouse gas chemical as carbon dioxide. when it's originally released, it breaks down, over 100 years, about 30 times as impactful over 20 years which is kind of the time we had to get there, which
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means that somewhere between 1 to 3% leakage rate in the system, and methane is actually worse than coal. and you all are out there promoting this as part of the climate solution. let's go to 2%, mr. sommers, do you dispute that methane is 80 times more potent greenhouse gas than co2? >> thank you for your question. natural gas has led -- >> sir, just asking for a yes or no. do you dispute it's more potent? >> this industry has done everything that we can do to -- >> i'll get to the leaks. that's my only question. >> we trust the climate science. >> okay, do you believe that the natural gas system today has less than 2% leaks? >> congressman, we don't dispute the science in this space. >> the leakage rates. i get that we don't want to have
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leaks. is it your position that there's less than 2% leaks? >> congressman, we have programs at the american petroleum institute to work to eliminate -- limit methane -- >> okay, you're ducking my question, sir. if you don't have that, you have to ask why you're calling something a climate solution that as we sit today is warming up the planet. i will leave you both with an observation. a board member of mine used to tell us when we got in board disputes the only thing that matters in this life is whether our grandchildren are proud of us. the rest is on fire. floods are coming, the ice is melting because of analysis you had in 1978. my question to you, which you can submit for the record, is are your grandchildren proud of you? i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. without objection, mr. jones is authorized to participate in today's hearing. mr. jones, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. if you listen to our witnesses
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today or read their company's climate plans, you might conclude that carbon capture is nothing short of a miracle. a technology solution so impactful that it will save us from the catastrophic effects of climate change. exxon, for example, is promoting a proposed carbon capture in texas designed to capture emissions from industrial facilities and power plants. a way, at least according to exxon's own ads and marketing material, to have the best of both worlds. continue to burn fossil fuels with reckless abandon but pay none of the climate crisis. mr. woods, at an investor meeting earlier this year, you were quoted as saying carbon capture and storage is going to be needed to reduce emissions. and your written testimony reflect that sentiment as well. today, there are 13 active commercial carbon capture and
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storage sites in the u.s., according to the global gps institute 2020 report. one of those sites belongs to exxon, correct? a simple yes or no will do. >> i'm not familiar with that report, but we do have a facility in the u.s., yes. >> in wyoming. >> yes. >> 12 of those sites, including the one exxon owns, the captured carbon is used for what is called enhanced oil recovery. a method to pump out hard to reach oil by injecting pressurized co2. is that correct? yen, a simple yes or no will do. >> yes. >> in fact, 95% of the carbon being captured at these u.s. plants is used for extracting more oil. to be clear, exxon and others are using captured co2 to extract more oil and calling this a climate mitigation
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strategy. mr. woods, yes or no, when exxon promotes carbon capture as a climate solution, does this the nclude carbon capture used for enhanced oil recovery? >> congressman, i would suggest you're confusing the technology with the uses. carbon capture is a proven technology to concentrate co2, and the question is what you do with that concentration? we can store it. our houston hub is to capture that co2 and store it in aquifers offshore. it would not be used for enhanced oil recovery. there's a difference between the technology and what you use the technology for. >> mr. woods, i'm sorry, i do have other questions. i want to get a yes or no answer. when exxon promotes carbon capture as a climate solution, does this include carbon capture that is used for enhanced oil recovery? >> our focus has been to capture co2 and sequester it, not for eor. >> okay.
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so even though the overwhelming majority of existing carbon capture technology deployed is ultimately used to extract even more fossil fuel, exxon plans to increase investment in carbon capture as a way to, quote, be consistent with the goals of the paris climate agreement. the truth is, carbon capture might help the fossil fuel companies extract more oil, but it won't do anything to prevent us all from paying the catastrophic cost of the climate crisis. to make enhanced oil recovery work from a climate perspective, exxon, and to be fair, the rest of the fossil fuel industry as well, would need to capture and store an ever-increasing amount of carbon, for which there is neither the technological capacity or infrastructure at scale to meet our 2030 or even 2050 obligations in the paris climate agreement. the u.s., as you know, has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. but exxon's carbon capture facility has only been able to
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capture and bury less than 20% of the carbon produced by the single plant on which it operates. mr. woods, how do you expect to capture enough of exxon's future emissions from extraction, transportation, and other company operations to remain consistent with the country's net zero obligation? >> congressman, that's the big challenge we all face. moving from one energy source to another, and it's been widely recognized in order for society to be successful by the iea that carbon capture will play an important role in that. and the policy to support implementation will be important to achieve society's objective. so no matter what solution we go to, there's going to be extensive need for additional investment in infrastructure as well as the technology to replace today's energy systems. so it's not a question of spending more money. it's where you spend that money. and i would make a point that a number of solutions are required, and a number of large
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investments in those solutions are required across our economy and across the world as a whole. >> thank you, mr. woods. i understand that to mean that you don't know yet how you can capture enough of exxon's future emissions from extraction transportation and other company operations to remain consistent with our country's net zero obligation. with that, madam chair, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. without objection, mr. levin is also authorized to participate in today's hearing. you're now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so much, madam chairwoman, and thank you to all the witnesses. i want to shift our focus to the oil refinery workers your companies employ. mr. woods, i'm going to ask you a few yes or no questions, and then get into one issue in more detail. does exxonmobil educate workers on possible job loss from climate change? and have you advised workers that you believe addressing the climate crisis may cause some of
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them to lose their jobs? >> what we have talked about with our organization is the opportunity to address the risk of climate change through investments in technology. >> all right, i'm asking about people's jobs, sir. >> yeah, i'll get to that. >> i don't have a lot of time, so do you talk to them about that they may lose their jobs, yes or no? >> we believe that the transition will involve capabilities and skill sets that are consistent with our existing businesses. so there's an opportunity to evolve those jobs into different applications like carbon capture. >> got it. so do you have specific programs in place to retain and protect the workers that you currently employ? is that what you're kind of saying? >> i'm saying as the world transitions and as the solutions are going to be required like hydrogen and biofuel and carbon captures, those investments will require workers to operate those facilities. >> okay, i understand. so do you -- would you say that
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from your perspective, the company considers the wellbeing of your workers when you're making new business decisions? >> we believe that our workers are fundamental to the value proposition to our company, so they're very important to the equation. >> well, i want to -- i really have to question a lot of what you consider as your workers are making -- how much you really consider them when you're making decisions given reports coming out of the refinery. can you confirm on may 1st, your company escorted 650 oil refiners in beaumont, texas, in the refinery there, off the job, replacing experienced members of the united fuel workers local 13243 with temporary workers in an effort to force a vote on your latest contract proposal? >> at beaumont, we have had contract negotiations ongoing for quite some time.
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>> did you lock the workers out, sir? >> we failed to reach an agreement, and as part of that process and the strike notice, we had a lock-out, that's correct. >> madam chairwoman, exxonmobil's guiding principles for employees, quote, we're committed to maintaining safe work environment, enriched by diversity and characterized by open communication, trust, and fair treatment. i fail to see how that is true based on today's hearing. exxonmobil and other fossil fuel companies have sold this untrue narrative that they're acting out of concern for their workers while simultaneously undermining them as in the case with the lock-out in beaumont, texas. we have evidence that their workers aren't their primary concern in their business decisions regarding climate change. as many have referenced earlier, former exxonmobil senior adviser chase mccoy was caught on camera defending exxonmobil's early
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efforts to fight against climate science, stating that there's nothing illegal about doing that, and we're just looking out for our investments. we're looking out for our shareholders. he didn't mention the workers. and now, when these companies are no longer hide from their climate denialism and disinformation, they work behind the scenes to shift climate liability away from profit margins and on to the backs of their workers by refusing to give them a seat at the table or to be clear about the long-term impacts climate change has on their livelihoods. i am tired of oil industry backed groups opposing efforts to address climate change in the name of protecting good jobs and workers. let us remember, it was not the ceos and big bosses of these companies that made oil refinery jobs good jobs. it was unions and workers who fought for decades, and are still fighting, for these benefits. we can save live on earth as we know it and support our workers
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to have good jobs. i implore all the witnesses testifying today to give oil refinery workers a seat at the table, and i remain steadfast in my commitment to insuring that workers are held harmless and supported in this transition while corporate polluters pay for the climate disinformation they have peddled for decades. with that, madam chairwoman, with ten seconds to spare, i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. without objection, ms. omar is authorized to participate in today's hearing. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so much, madam chair. i am glad to join this discussion. i know there has been a lot of conversations around the coordinated efforts that the fossil fuel companies have put together to create and spread disinformation about climate
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change. as we heard earlier, in 1998, the american petroleum institute or api, assembled a global science communication team, compromised the fossil fuel companies and front groups working to coordinate a misinformation campaign surrounding climate change. ms. wright, the action plan says, quote, sharon knight of chevron was a member of the global climate science communications team, correct? >> congresswoman, i appreciate the question. >> it's just yes or no, sir. >> i'm not familiar with the instance you're referring to. so i don't have any knowledge of that. >> all right. ms. woods, the action plan also says, quote, randy randall of exxon was on the team.
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do you agree? >> i don't know about that. that was several decades ago. >> okay. so on page 2 of the action plan, it says that these employees were listed as members who contributed to the development of the plan. in 1998, the global climate science communications team produced, quote, action plans outlining a strategy to conduct a coordinated misinformation campaign on the climate change. mr. woods, an exxon employee was involved in developing this plan, this action plan, right? >> as i said, i'm not familiar with that activity. that was 20 years ago. >> okay, and mr. wright, is that the same for you? were the employees involved in creating that action plan? >> i don't have information about that instance you're
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making reference to. >> again, on page 2 of that action plan, listing employees, the plan explains that, quote, victory, end quote, would be achieved when, quote, average citizens understand the climate science, end quote, and recognition of that becomes part of the conventional wisdom. we have heard today that exxon executives were warned about the reality of the climate change as early as the 1970s. as you know, api shared information within the industry about the dangers of climate change. both of your organizations contributed to a plan to inject doubt and uncertainty into the climate debate. mr. sommers, yes or no, did the
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global climate science group see victory as it was laid out in the action plan? >> congresswoman, i'm not familiar with what you're referring to. in 1998, i was 23 years old. i came to api in 2018 and -- >> as i see the history of the institution, i participate in, i'm sure you do as well. but it seems very clear that they did. the fossil fuel industry worked collectively to prevent action on climate change. they coordinated their campaigns with groups like the global climate science communication team. their efforts at disinformation were conscious and deliberate. over the past three decades, the fossil fuel industry has continued their efforts by making $780 million in political donations, with 80% of those donations going to republicans.
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in 2020 alone, the industry made $139 million in donations to candidates and committees of which 84% went to republicans, and mostly climate deniers. it is yet another reason we need to get the fossil fuel money out of our pockets. fossil fuel companies have polluted our air, land, and water for profits. despite knowing the devastating impact it has on our company. it seems like you all have achieved that victory of leading the public with disinformation. and as one of my colleagues said earlier, i hope that you are ashamed of the future that you contributed for your children and for ours. and i ask all of you to resign. with that, i yield back, madam chairwoman. >> the gentlelady yields back.
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i am prepared to close now. all of our witnesses have had their time to ask their questions, and the witnesses have responded. and i thank them for their time and their testimony. but before we close, i want to offer the ranking member an opportunity to offer any closing remarks he may have. >> well, thank you, madam chair. i honestly sincerely think this was one of the better hearings we have had today. the one thing that i think most americans who have watched this hearing would take from it is that a biden energy policy has already had a dramatic impact on the inflationary prices that we have seen of gas and what we're going to see this winter with natural gas. so i think that was an important thing for the american people to see. this was a timely hearing because gas prices have risen 27 days in a row.
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27 days in a row. with no end in sight. you know, we have had a lot of interesting antics from my friends on the other side of the aisle. we have had a request to make a pledge to, of all things, cut production when we're seeing gas prices soaring right now. the last thing in the world we need to do is cut production. we have seen them try to get the ceos to make a pledge to cut production at the same time joe biden is pleading with opec to increase production. it makes no sense. we have had questions about how much lobbying the energy industry spent to lobby on behalf of the paris climate accord. of course, they spent little to none on lobbying for that. the only countries that would
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have spent money lobbying for the paris climate accord would have been energy companies in china or ukraine, perhaps when we become the majority and we subpoena hunter biden, we could ask hunter biden about that question. and then, you know, as our colleague representative omar just said, attacking the oil and gas industry for donating 80% of their contributions to republicans, the first thing that crossed my mind, madam chair, is i guess they still aren't fools for donating 20% to the democrats. this is crazy. this policy that's only going to make energy prices higher, only going to make us more dependent on foreign countries for our energy, and it's going to do nothing to reduce carbon emissions. and finally, we have seen stunts, like with katie porter. looked like she was in california, madam chair, i hope
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she doesn't get fined by gavin newsom for polluting or whatever she was doing there in the back of her car in california. but you know, the most predictable thing that we have seen today was what we have seen, a trend with the democrats, attacking private sector companies for making a profit. and what always confuses me is why my friends on the left continue to attack companies for making a profit while at the same time wanting to increase the corporate tax. if corporations don't make a profit, it doesn't matter what the corporate tax rate is. i think there's a lot of differing opinioning that the american people have seen today from this hearing. i want to thank our witnesses who came here today. i want to thank the investments that you have made in creating good-paying jobs and doing your best to see that we are less dependent on foreign oil. i want to also thank you for
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your investments to reduce carbon emissions. the climate is very important to republicans as well. we just want to work with the private sector to reduce our carbon footprint while at the same time reduce our dependence on foreign countries for energy and at the same time create and maintain good paying jobs. so that's a hallmark of the republican policy, we care about the climate, but we also want to work with the private sector to reduce carbon emissions and continue to create good paying jobs. with that, madam chair, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. i want to thank all of the witnesses for appearing today. and thank all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their participation in this important hearing. i have been listening carefully to today's testimony.
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as i said earlier, i had hoped today would be a turning point for the oil industry. i was grateful to hear the top fossil fuel ceos finally admit that climate change is real. that burning fossil fuels is causing it, and that we must act urgently to fix it. but i was disappointed that we also heard much of the same denial and deflection we have heard before. today's winces refused to take responsibility for big oil's decades-long disinformation campaign, and even after agreeing that we are in fact in, quote, code red, end quote, crisis. they refuse to stop funding groups like the american petroleum institute that are still blocking reforms like
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expanding the use of electric vehicles. so i see no choice but to continue our committee's investigation until we see the truth. we requested documents from each of these companies six weeks ago, which were due on september 30th. we followed up before the due date to identify categories of documents that were of particular importance to be produced quickly. after they missed the deadline, we sent warning letters to all six companies urging them to complete their production by october 25th or face further action. unfortunately, none of the six entities have produced the substantial portion of the key
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documents the committee requested. instead, they produced reams of other documents, many of which were publicly available. one entity sent in 1,500 pages printed from their own website, available publicly, along with 4,000 pages of newsletters filled with industry press releases. others sent us thousands of pages of publicly available annual reports and the company's postings on facebook and linkedin. now, let me tell you what the fossil fuel companies have not produced. these organizations have not produced the detailed funding information that we have requested and that we need to
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understand their payments to shadow groups and to over 150 public relations companies and advertisements on social media. payments that today's witnesses seem intent on continuing. nearly all the companies have failed to turn over board materials the committee needs to examine corporate strategies on climate change. and with only a few limited exceptions, the fossil fuel companies have not produced any internal documents or internal communications from senior executives about their company's role in climate change. i have tried very hard to obtain this information voluntarily, but the oil companies employ the same tactics they used for decades on climate policy, delay and obstruction.
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well, that ends today. i am formally notifying the ranking member and members of the committee that i intend to issue subpoenas to the fossil fuel entities represented here today. i have draft subpoenas here. please know that i do not take this step lightly. when republican dan burden was chairman of this committee, he issued more than 1,000 subpoenas without a single complaint from my republican colleagues. i have been much more selective, but we are at code red for climate, and i'm committed to doing everything i can to help rescue this planet and save it for our children. we need to get to the bottom of the oil industry's disinformation campaign and with these subpoenas we will. >> madam chair, point of order. point of order. >> what is the gentleman's point
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of order? >> just want to publicly say i object to the issuance of subpoenas to oil and gas executives here have provided over 100,000 pages of documents, and we feel like that's an infringement upon their first amendment rights. >> well, mr. chairman, they produced documents, but they were not -- they were not fully complying with our requests and were obstructing and delaying our investigation. i also notice that we gave these organizations multiple opportunities to produce them voluntarily. we requested it in writing, in
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phone calls, and reaching out to their offices. in fact, chairman ro khanna and i wrote to them just last week and warned them if they did not comply voluntarily, that the committee would be forced to consider additional steps to obtain compliance. so we have been true to our word, and we have spent a great deal of time trying to obtain these documents. we were not able to obtain them. they are important. we are now requesting them with a subpoena. i have draft subpoenas here. i'm willing to share them. >> we strongly, madam chair, we strongly reiterate the fact that this is an infringement upon their first amendment rights. this is the government, this is oversight and government reform committee. we're supposed to focus on waste, fraud, and abuse in the
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federal bureaucracy. >> agreed. the meeting is adjourned. before we close, in closing, i want to thank our panelists once again for their remarks. i want to commend my colleagues participating in this very important conversation. with that, and without objection, all members will have five legislative days within which to submit extraneous materials and to submit additional written questions for the witnesses to the chair, which will be forwarded to the witnesses for their response. i ask our witnesses to please respond as promptly as you can, and with that, this meeting is adjourned.
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sundays on c-span2 or online anytime at >> now, labor secretary marty walsh. he talks about artificial intelligence and digital technology's impact on u.s. manufacturing. "the washington post" hosts this half an hour event. >> good afternoon. i'm jonathan capehart, opinion writer for "the washington post." welcome to "washington post" live. today, we're talking about the u.s. economy, manufacturing, and jobs. and who better to talk about all that than the secretary of labor, marty walsh. secretary walsh, welcome back to "washington post" live. >> jonathan, thank you for having me today. >> so we did see interesting numbers in the most recent jobs report issued last week. 26,000 manufacturing jobs were added in september,


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