PUBLISHED THU, OCT 10 201912:43 PM EDT
Shahid Khan, an auto parts billionaire who also owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, is extremely encouraged by the state of manufacturing in the United States.
“I’ve been in an auto parts factory for 50 years. Times in the U.S. have never been better,” Khan said Thursday on “Squawk on the Street.” “We’re entering the … golden area for American manufacturing right now.”
Khan, owner of Illinois-based auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate, said the past few years under President Donald Trump have benefited the manufacturing sector.
“What we’ve gone through here over the last few years … on investments, interest rates, I’m super pumped and excited,” said Khan, whose company has supplied parts to the likes of General Motors, Ford and Tesla.
Khan’s optimism comes against the backdrop of slowing economic growth globally and domestically — and recent data pointing specifically to a U.S. manufacturing slowdown.
In September, U.S. manufacturers lost 2,000 jobs, well short of the 18,000 positions they added this time last year and below August’s gain of 3,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department.
Additionally, a trusted metric for U.S. manufacturing showed its lowest reading in more than a decade for September, with exports feeling pressure from the heightened trade war.
The Pakistani-born Khan, who became a U.S. citizen decades ago, said the current manufacturing landscape looks a lot different than previous conceptions, giving him confidence in the future of the field.
“The world is changing in a lot of good ways,” Khan said. “Come to inner-city Detroit and see what new factories look like. Who are the employees? Sixty percent of the people are women.”
“We’ve got to have workspaces that connect ergonomically, more brains, less brawn, and huge amount of flexibility on the product line and quality,” he added. “I think it’s just starting in a great way.”