US President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced inauguration of a new high-tech manufacturing innovation base in the state of North Carolina, his latest step to fulfill the pledge of restoring the country's manufacturing glory and jobs. The new hub, which connects 18 companies, seven universities and labs and the federal government, will produce smaller, faster and more power-efficient semiconductor chips and devices. By supporting this base, the United States can lead in the world's largest and fastest growing markets from consumer appliances, industrial-scale equipment to telecommunications and clean energy technologies, creating the well-paying jobs that support a growing middle class, Obama said. Wednesday's announcement is another step forward toward fulfilling Obama's vision for a full national network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes. While declaring 2014 a year of action, Obama said he will continue to work with Congress on new measures to create jobs and grow the economy. "After shedding jobs for a decade, our manufacturers have added 568,000 over the past nearly four years, including 80,000 over the past five months. Manufacturing production has grown since the end of the recession at its fastest pace in over a decade," said Obama, who added he is committed to building on that progress. In his State of the Union Address last year, Obama proposed a series of three new manufacturing institutes. The other two led by the Department of Defense, which will be specialized in Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation and Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing, are still in the selection process and will be awarded in the coming weeks.