As the incoming Trump administration prepares to reform and roll back many misguided federal regulations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new study revealing the sheer number of business and operational hurdles that manufacturers face on a daily basis as a result of the nation’s current regulatory structure. Read More
The Federal Reserve said that manufacturing production rebounded in December after pulling lower in November, with output in the sector up 0.2 percent in the latest report. Manufacturers have struggled to increase demand over the past couple years, with a strong dollar and global headwinds dampening overall activity, but recent data have started to reflect a turnaround in sentiment. In that regard, manufacturing production grew 0.2 percent year-over-year in December, its first positive reading since June but still indicating essentially stagnant growth over the past 12 months. Similarly, manufacturing capacity utilization edged up from 74.7 percent to 74.8 percent, which, despite some progress, continued to be below the 75.2 percent utilization rate observed one year ago. Read More
I was struck by the New York Times article on Scott Pruitt, the nominee to be EPA Administrator, and the settlement of a long-simmering Arkansas poultry runoff case. I encourage you to take a look at a very different side of the story and its impact here.
It’s fascinating to see the nature of the criticism being leveled against Mr. Pruitt by environmental groups, former EPA administrators and other opponents – and here’s why: he doesn’t view EPA’s role, and his potential role as administrator, the same way they do. He’s different. And they don’t like it.
But shouldn’t he be different? Shouldn’t he represent change from the status quo? Voters just elected Donald Trump president in large part because he pledged to be a disruptor, to dramatically change the way the federal government interacts with, well, everyone. EPA is no exception. Read More
This afternoon, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari to the NAM’s petition in the challenge to the EPA’s Waters of the US regulation. We have asked the Supreme Court to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where many suits challenging the WOTUS rule have been consolidated. The panel’s decision conflicts with decisions in similar cases by other federal appeals courts, which concluded that such challenges should be heard at the District Court level. The NAM outlined in detail why 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1369(b) does not allow courts of appeals to hear this challenge. The Sixth Circuit’s decision put challengers to the EPA rule in an untenable position — if that court does not actually have jurisdiction to hear the case, any action it takes could thereafter be overturned on appeal, without even considering the merits of the challenge, and we would have to start the case over at the trial court level. This would be a tremendous waste of resources for manufacturers and others parties affected by the rule, the Administration, and the courts. Delaying review of the jurisdictional question, which must ultimately be resolved in any case, makes no sense, so we are very pleased that the Supreme Court decided today to resolve this issue.
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December employment data:
“Despite an increase in manufacturing employment in December, the sector lost 45,000 workers in 2016. That is unacceptable. To really accelerate job growth and fully reach our economic potential, manufacturers are looking to the incoming Trump administration to take bold actions, beginning on day one. To spur job creation right here in the United States, we want to see smart reforms on regulations, taxes, health care, energy and more. But to achieve that, we need a fully functioning government, so we are calling on the Senate to act swiftly on the president-elect’s Cabinet nominees. Unnecessary delays mean lost opportunities for manufacturers and the men and women who make things in America.”
“Manufacturers and the NAM appreciate the incoming administration’s willingness to listen to our concerns and seek our insights. If leaders on both sides of the aisle can come together, we can revitalize modern manufacturing in America—and lift our economy and country to new heights.”
CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090
The onerous Health Insurance Tax included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was delayed thanks to bipartisan congressional action in 2015, and now new efforts to permanently repeal the anticipated 2018 tax are in the beginning stages.
Today, Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced important legislation that repeals section 9010 of the ACA, a provision that levies a $100 billion tax on fully insured health plans—the primary health care option for many small and medium-sized manufacturers. Although officially a tax on health insurance plans, it is a “pass-through,” and the obligation is placed directly on those who are purchasing full-insured health plans.
The NAM has long supported repeal of this tax as it raises the cost of health care and provides an additional burden for employers who are also struggling to manage the overwhelming health care mandates and paperwork demands required by the ACA.
Manufacturers are proud to provide health insurance benefits for their employees, and in fact, 98 percent of manufacturers provide health insurance. Repeal of this tax will offer needed relief for smaller manufacturers who want to maintain a healthy workforce and continue doing right by their employees. However, challenges from the ACA are making it increasingly difficult to do so.
No one understands the frustrations of our health care system quite like manufacturers—rising health care and insurance costs are a top business challenge in our most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. The “Competing to Win” agenda and health care policy blueprint of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) calls on the next Congress and administration to find solutions that will successfully eliminate the costliest and most problematic aspects of the ACA. The NAM appreciates the leadership of Reps. Noem and Sinema and urges Congress not only to consider this important legislation but also include it in the upcoming budget reconciliation package, along with a repeal of the “Cadillac” and medical device taxes.
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) accelerated to a two-year high in December. The composite index rose from 53.2 in November to 54.7 in December, its highest level since December 2014. It was the second consecutive increase in the headline number, mirroring the jump in business confidence seen in other economic indicators since the election. Indeed, all of the sample comments provided by the ISM echoed the improvement in activity and outlook, with the comments of one plastics of rubber products manufacturer summing up the thoughts of many: “Our business remains strong, and we are seeing continued growth.” Along those lines, respondents also cited a tight labor market and a pickup in inflationary pressures, both of which would also be consistent with stronger demand and output.
Looking more closely at the data, the underlying figures were encouraging in December, including very healthy gains for new orders (up from 53.0 to 60.2) and production (up from 56.0 to 60.3). It was the first time both of these measures have exceeded 60—signifying strong expansions—in 25 months, or since November 2014. Growth in export sales (up from 52.0 to 56.0) and employment (up from 52.3 to 53.1) also improved for the month. Read More
Manufacturers can’t wait for Inauguration Day. Like the first hours of New Year’s Day and baseball’s Opening Day, anything feels possible. And when you’ve been battling eight years of volatility and policy uncertainty in the rules governing the workplace, a new way forward is exactly what we need—to help American workers and families with more jobs and higher pay.
A recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) study calculated the cost of recent labor regulations to the economy to be $85 billion, more than 400 million hours of paperwork and up to 155,000 jobs lost over the next 10 years. That’s more jobs lost than the entire populations of Green Bay and La Crosse, Wis., combined.
The right type of change starts with a confirmation vote—to get the U.S. Labor Department working smarter and functioning at the level Americans expect and deserve. The Senate should move swiftly to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder. The president-elect was wise to choose the leader who turned around Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., saving not only brick-and-mortar businesses but also jobs that jumpstart better lives. There’s no reason to delay another turnaround—at the Labor Department—that needs to start on day one.
How bad has it been? Here are some of the worst-offending policies:
- President Obama’s Labor Department has hindered the ability of employers, particularly smaller-sized firms, to seek advice on how to comply with labor laws, which can harm manufacturing workers, as much as their employers.
- The administration tried to more than double the minimum salary threshold for employees exempted from overtime pay and add a costly automatic increase provision. Small and rural businesses were hit especially hard by the change—and the rule failed to account for the varied types of work done by affected employees and the increasing need for flexible work arrangements.
- They’ve prevented employers from incentivizing safe workplace practices.
- And they’ve tried to turn back the clock on labor law, refusing to allow modernizations to take place that best fit the modern workplace.
It’s time for more balance: a labor policy that can achieve both a positive work environment and create new job openings in manufacturing and in other sectors for all Americans. It’s the type of labor policy we lay out in the NAM’s new “Competing to Win” blueprint on labor policy and the agenda we’re confident President-elect Trump and Andrew Puzder can get working on right away—if senators act in manufacturing’s and the people’s interest.
Manufacturers have routinely found themselves at odds with the outgoing Obama administration—even in these last few days—because it continues to hammer us with regulations that lack critical balance. Just in the past two weeks, the administration seems determined to push the limits of the president’s regulatory power: a massive stream buffer regulation that effectively bans coal mining, followed by a legally tenuous decision to indefinitely ban offshore oil and gas leasing in Alaska and the Atlantic and lastly a chemical storage regulation that imposes major costs but would not actually solve the problem (a Texas fertilizer plant explosion) it was designed to prevent. When these are layered on top of massive, billion-dollar regulations like the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States, ozone, PM 2.5, Boiler MACT and Utility MACT, the picture comes clearly into focus: the Obama administration is capping eight solid years of overregulation with a final backbreaking few weeks of the worst of the worst.
Throughout, manufacturers have been confronted with regulations where costs greatly exceeded their benefits, a government picking winners and losers in terms of energy sources, caused mass closings of power plants in the Rust Belt and across the southern United States and forced manufacturers to divert capital to environmental compliance that should have been used instead to innovate and create new products.
Well, we are now hopeful this is about to change.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently cheered the announcement of Oklahoma Attorney General (AG) Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said AG Pruitt’s nomination made him “hopeful the next administration will strike the right balance between environmental stewardship and economic growth.”
Our “Competing to Win” white papers for environment and energy lay out a bold agenda for the new EPA administrator and call on that person to issue policies that protect health, safety and jobs. We call for regulations—on air, water, waste and chemicals and even greenhouse gases—but we want them to be done better and in a more balanced way.
We are confident AG Pruitt will bring balance to the EPA regulatory agenda. Manufacturers have stood side-by-side with AG Pruitt as we challenged the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States regulation and 2015 ozone standard. In all three cases, manufacturers asked for regulations we could live with—and when we didn’t get them, we were forced to sue. AG Pruitt did the same for the citizens of Oklahoma.
We encourage the Senate to move swiftly in confirming his nomination so this important agenda can begin on day one.
The environment has improved dramatically over the past 40 years. And we believe the EPA plays an important role in preserving the environment by supporting clear, smart regulations that encourage responsible use of our natural resources while keeping energy prices low—not at the cost of the economy, like we have seen over the past eight years.
It’s a win–win for manufacturers and the communities they support. We look forward to working with AG Pruitt on day one to achieve this.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement on the creation of the White House National Trade Council under the leadership of Dr. Peter Navarro.
“Great things are on the horizon for manufacturers. Americans voted for change this election, and we’re energized by President-elect Trump’s continued strong commitment to manufacturing in the United States. Today, the president-elect sent another clear signal to the millions of Americans employed in manufacturing that they will be ‘put first’ in his administration.
“We welcome the president-elect’s decision to put action behind the force of his words with the formation of the White House National Trade Council. We look forward to working with the president-elect and Dr. Navarro to enact the policies we need to strengthen and grow manufacturing in America.”