June 12, 2012 / 10:15 AM / in 6 years

Starbucks brews a few U.S. factory jobs

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) on Tuesday will debut the first products in a line of U.S.-made mugs and other merchandise that will be sold in its roughly 7,000 U.S. cafes to support domestic manufacturing and raise money for its Create Jobs for USA fund.

A man carries a Starbucks logo sign after a corporate event at a hotel in Shanghai April 19, 2012. Starbucks Corp wants to make its mainland China expansion a family affair. The world's biggest coffee chain is opening cafes in China at a rate of one every four days in its quest to expand from about 570 shops today to more than 1,500 by 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The move from the world’s biggest coffee chain follows Chief Executive Howard Schultz’s call to fellow executives to step up hiring and take a bigger role in the country’s economic revival.

Domestic manufacturing, once a pillar of the economy, has been hard-hit by globalization. The industry now employs about 12 million people, down from a peak of nearly 20 million around 1980, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The new line of U.S.-made merchandise includes a 16-ounce acrylic tumbler made in Chicago, whole bean coffee that is blended, roasted and packaged in the United States and a 16-ounce ceramic mug made with domestically sourced raw materials at the American Mug & Stein factory in East Liverpool, Ohio.

That formerly struggling factory in what was once known as the pottery capital of the United States expanded its workforce from 14 to 22 after the Starbucks order, the coffee chain said.

While that does little to offset the jobs lost when Starbucks closed roughly 600 U.S. cafes during its ultimately successful turnaround in 2008 and 2009, the move signals growing corporate interest in bringing back U.S. factory jobs.

The company partnered with the Opportunity Finance Network, a group of private lenders, to start Create Jobs for USA late last year. Starbucks will make a donation to the fund for each U.S.-made product sold.

The U.S. employment market as a whole has been stumbling. In May, nonfarm payroll added only 69,000 jobs, the smallest gain in a year.

Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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