WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Ron Bloom, the Obama administration's point man overseeing the U.S. auto industry, on Monday was named to lead an effort aimed at revitalizing America's hard-hit manufacturing industry.
Bloom will retain his role as a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner assigned to Obama's task force on the U.S. automotive industry. He traveled with President Barack Obama to a Labor Day event in Cincinnati, where the appointment was announced.
Bloom and the autos task force played a key role in the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler Group throughout the spring and summer. He also has been closely monitoring the health of U.S. auto suppliers, a segment plagued by at least 19 bankruptcies so far this year.
The U.S. manufacturing industry has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in recent years to overseas competition as some U.S. businesses have relocated abroad to take advantage of cheaper labor. Bringing an invigorated manufacturing base back to America was a campaign pledge of Obama last year.
The White House said in a statement issued on Sunday that Bloom is to work with government departments including Commerce, Treasury, Energy and Labor to develop new initiatives affecting the manufacturing sector.
The White House said Obama is committed to partnering with the private sector to spur innovation, invest in the skills of American workers, and help manufacturers prosper in global markets by promoting exports.
Bloom's appointment follows news that the U.S. manufacturing sector had expanded for the first time in 18 months and had the highest monthly output in two years.
"It's a sign that we're on the right track to economic recovery, but that we still have a long way to go," Obama said in the announcement.
"We must do more to harness the power of American ingenuity and productivity so that we can put people back to work and unleash our full economic potential."
Bloom said in the statement that a strong manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of American competitiveness.
"As we meet the challenges of globalization and technological change, it is vital to have a concerted effort across the administration to support an innovative, vibrant manufacturing sector," Bloom said.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Bloom was a special assistant to the president of the United Steelworkers Union. His responsibilities included the union's collective bargaining program.
Prior to joining the Steelworkers, Bloom was one of the founding partners of Keilin and Bloom, an investment banking firm, where he was involved in numerous transactions on behalf of the Steelworkers, the Auto Workers, the Teamsters, the Air Line Pilots Association and other unions.
Before founding Keilin and Bloom, Bloom was a vice president at the investment banking firm of Lazard Freres & Co. where he specialized in analyzing, structuring and raising financing for union-led employee-ownership transactions.