NEW YORK (
) -- America's recovery from the depths of recession is now logging in at two years and counting. Since bailouts and historically low interest rates haven't quite righted the ship, maybe it's time to give patriotism a shot.
That's the view of Barr McClellan, author of
Made in the U.S.A.
, who believes the solution could be as simple as "Buy American." He maintains that the United States would see a quick recovery if consumers focus on buying products and services that are made in America.
"If Americans support American companies, the result will be increased buying of American products and in turn cause employers to increase hiring," McClellan tells the
. "One of the biggest problems with the recession recovery is the stagnant job market."
>>Video: End Recession -- Buy American
The difficulty is finding a true American company.
is a great example. Founded in 1961 in Arkansas by Sam Walton, it is one of the largest employers in the country. At one time, the company was a proud supporter of home-grown products. In February of 1985, Walton wrote 3,000 American manufacturers and wholesalers to announce that the chain wanted to buy more American goods.
"We cannot continue to be a solvent nation as long as we pursue this current accelerating direction," the letter read. "Our company is firmly committed to the philosophy by buying everything possible from suppliers who manufacture their products in the United States."
Unfortunately the company's firmness to that commitment has wavered in the past 25 years. Now at least 85% of the products sold in the store are produced outside the country. According to the
Economic Policy Institute
, 77 U.S. jobs were eliminated for each one of Wal-Mart's stores in 2006.
McClellan says people should be willing to spend a little more to support local businesses as opposed to buying cheaper imports. For example, Americans can drive past the
gas station in favor of U.S. companies like
. He suggests people do Internet searches to find products made in the U.S.
Feeling patriotic this weekend? Here are five America companies to consider patronizing or buying stock in in order to start a grass roots "Buy American" effort.
Ford Motor Co.'s
Ford Escape came in at the top of Cars.com's list for "Most American" cars. Assembled in Missouri, the Escape and the Focus, which is assembled in Michigan, each have a domestic parts content ratings over 75%.
Unlike its domestic counterparts like
, Ford took no bailout money from the government making this stock and car a favorite for conservatives. Over the past year, the stock has climbed 76%. Even with the recent market pullback, Ford shares remain up 4% year-to-date.
was formed in 1994 by media giants Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg and went public in 2004. In 2009, the company made the list of
list of the 100 best companies to work for. At the end of last year, DreamWorks employed 1,940 people in two studios in California.
The stock has traded up over the past year in anticipation of the release of the Shrek 4 movie. However, ticket sales for this latest installment of Shrek franchise haven't lived up to expectations, and the stock has sold off of late. Goldman Sachs recently downgraded the shares, but Stifel Nicklaus has raised its rating to buy, suggesting the market has oversold the stock and investors should look ahead to future film properties.
started as Galvin Manufacturing in 1928 in Chicago, and made its name in radios, specifically police radios. It provided radio equipment for NASA's space program and made history creating the world's first cell phone in 1983. It even partnered with
at one time for computers. But where Apple merely designs it products in California and has the items assembled outside the United States, Motorola continues to manufacture its products in Illinois.
Motorola is now teamed with another All American company
to produce the Motorola Droid phone. The stock has struggled throughout the year as consumers continue to be dazzled by the Apple iPhone. If the millions of iPhone buyers bought the Droid instead, think of all the jobs that would be created in Illinois. The tide may already be turning as
recently stopped Droid X pre-orders after selling out of its available units.
Almost as iconic as Ford is
, which was created by Thomas Edison in 1890 and was one of the original 12 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Although it is a multinational company, GE files the largest tax return in the country. GE struggled with losses in its financial unit during the crisis and has resorted to selling some assets. Recently, CEO Jeff Immelt expressed frustration with the business environment in China. He later said his comments were taken out of context, but it's clear that he wants a level playing field for all markets. The stock has slid of late, but remains up 20% over the past year.
On average, Americans already purchase one product from
per shopping trip. It is the sixth largest food company in the world, with 15,000 employees in the United States. The company just released a five-year plan that calls for increasing earnings per share by 45%.
But the company's profit outlook for fiscal 2011 disappointed Wall Street analysts, prompting a pullback in the stock, which is still up 20% over the past year and has a 3% dividend yield. With 17 analysts giving the stock a Buy rating and only four Hold ratings, Wall Street seems to believe the company can weather changes in commodity prices and continue to benefit from budget-conscious consumers eating at home.
Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.