2017 Manufacturing Summit: Manufacturing’s Moment!

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During the 2017 Manufacturing Summit, manufacturers of all sizes from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., for a two-day event, to bring their shop floors to the nation’s capital and to meet with members of Congress and the administration to advance the policies critical to a robust manufacturing economy.

With hundreds of Manufacturers  in attendance and a leading lineup of speakers, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons referred to the 2017 Manufacturing Summit as a Summit “Like none other before it,” and characterized the moment as unique, calling it “Manufacturing’s Moment!”

Manufacturers heard from Vice President Mike Pence who kicked off the event and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who delivered his first major speech on tax. The event closed out with remarks from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, before Manufacturers descended on Capitol Hill for their final day, to highlight manufacturing’s top priorities.

Photos and a live stream of the events can be seen below.2017 Manufacturing Summit

Manufacturers on the President’s Cuba Announcement

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Manufacturers support efforts to achieve normal trade relations with Cuba and to share with the Cuban people the values that make, and keep, America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity. While today’s announcement will add some hurdles for Americans interested in trade and travel to Cuba, manufacturers appreciate the president’s acknowledgment that our commercial and diplomatic engagement can support the ambitions of the Cuban people. We look forward to expanding investment and opportunity in Cuba.

Isolating the Cuban people has not yielded a new day for freedom and democracy in the island nation just miles from our shores. But eased restrictions on travel to Cuba and U.S. manufacturing exports to the Cuban private sector has made it simpler for Americans to engage with Cuban citizens, as it did when a group of National Association of Manufacturers leaders traveled to Cuba recently, and to support the growth of private enterprise in Cuba. We saw, in even a short time, the potential for normalized diplomatic relations not only to create economic benefits in both nations but also to bring freedom and democracy to Cuba and its people.

Most important in the near term is the strategic value of rapprochement with Cuba, to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the region. During our visit, for example, a Russian oil tanker with 249,000 barrels of refined product arrived in Cuba for the first time this century. It brought back memories of when the Soviet Union supplied all of the communist country’s needs. Instead of allowing the hand of friendship to come from communist governments and those with a different set of values, we can demonstrate the strength of democratic values and the free market system through a robust trading partnership.

We look forward to the day, as much as anyone, when the Castro regime ends. But ultimately real change will only happen when the Cuban people can take charge of their own destinies and entrepreneurs can create their own opportunities.

Faces of Cuba

FOMC Voted to Hike Rates at Its June Meeting, Plans to Reduce Its Balance Sheet Starting This Year

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The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise short-term interest rates at the conclusion of its June 13–14 meeting for only the third time since the financial crisis. After hiking the federal funds rate in December and March, the Federal Reserve increased rates by another 25 basis points, with a new target range of 1 to 1.25 percent. In making this decision, participants noted recent strengthening in the overall macroeconomy, including better data for consumer spending, business investment and hiring. Beyond this latest action, it is widely anticipated that the FOMC will increase rates one more time in 2017, perhaps as soon as its September 19–20 meeting. Such a decision, of course, would depend on continued improvements in economic activity, especially as the Federal Reserve remains “data dependent.” At this meeting, there was one dissenter: Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari, who felt that incoming data did not warrant an increase just yet. Read More

Manufacturers on Infrastructure: Get It Done

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If you are going to get cut off during an interview, it might as well be for the president of the United States.

Just before President Donald Trump discussed his vision to modernize America’s infrastructure and continue to support manufacturers in the United States, I joined Stuart Varney on “Fox Business” to offer the perspective of our nation’s 12 million manufacturers on the urgent need to advance infrastructure investment and remove job-crushing regulations.

As I told Stu, the bottom line is that the American people want to get things done. Manufacturers are encouraged that the president is getting things done, incorporating elements of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) “Building to Win” strategy, and we hope Washington comes together to get a big, jobs-first, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan done.

There’s a reason 93 percent of the NAM’s members recently surveyed are optimistic about their outlook on their economy—a 20-year record high. It’s because President Trump is not just delivering speeches like he did today. He’s listening to manufacturers and putting actions behind his words—to create jobs and lift standards of living for everyone.

More Relief for Manufacturers: EPA Grants Flexibility on Ozone Regulations

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This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed governors that the agency will grant states an additional year for initial compliance designations under the 2015 ozone standard. This is welcome regulatory relief for manufacturers, who are working hard to comply with the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards but run the risk of falling into no-grow zonesif their states do not reach the 2015 levels quickly enough.

The 2015 ozone regulation could be one of the most expensive regulations ever issued by the U.S. government. The 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb)—the most stringent standard ever—was never even fully implemented, while emissions are as low as they have been in decades and air quality continues to improve. The EPA itself admitted that implementation of the previous standard of 75 ppb, when combined with the dozens of other regulations on the books that will reduce ozone precursor emissions from stationary and mobile sources, will drive ozone reductions below 75 ppb (and close to 70 ppb, the current standard set in 2015) by 2025.

Throughout the 2015 ozone rulemaking, hundreds of governors, mayors, local development officials, manufacturers and other leaders warned the EPA that they could not comply with a tighter standard under the strict timelines the EPA requires. Air quality officials from cities and states across the country have testified before Congress that they may run out of controls before they even reach the levels mandated by the EPA. Manufacturers appreciate that the EPA is acknowledging this very real problem.

The EPA also announced it would continue to look into three issues the NAM raised in its comments on the 2015 rule and in subsequent requests to the agency: (1) how the EPA calculates background ozone; (2) the impact of emissions from outside the United States on local ozone levels; and (3) timely consideration of exceptional events designations. Fixing these issues will go a long way toward more flexibility for manufacturers as they continue to reduce their emissions.

ISM: Growth in Manufacturing Activity Essentially Unchanged in May, Expanding Modestly

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The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index reported that growth in activity remained essentially the same in May. The composite index edged marginally higher, up from 54.8 in April to 54.9 in May. On the reassuring front, it was the ninth consecutive monthly expansion in manufacturing activity in the United States, with the sector showing signs of progress after two years of notable challenges. The sample comments tend to echo those improvements, citing better economic conditions, a favorable outlook and increased difficulties in finding labor. At the same time, the headline index has drifted lower since February (57.7), and respondents continue to note some lingering headwinds and increased pricing pressures. The ISM report mostly mirrors other sentiment surveys, which have observed some pullbacks from multiyear highs post-election, even as they remain mostly encouraging. Read More

How Manufacturers Are Making Progress in Washington

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Three months ago, I joined a group of business leaders in a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. We had a frank discussion about what businesses in America need to create jobs, compete around the world and grow our economy.

We focused especially on issues like regulatory reform and infrastructure, and since that meeting, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has continued to provide the administration with manufacturers’ perspectives. We sent a report on regulations to the Commerce Department, and we continue to advocate the solutions found in our “Building to Win” agenda.

I shared a similar message in a round of television interviews in New York this week. On CNBC, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and I talked about manufacturers’ priorities with the “Squawk Box” audience (You can watch parts one and two of the interview here and here.)

The other hot topic for manufacturers right now, of course, is tax reform. Earlier this month, I was on Capitol Hill to testify before Congress about manufacturers’ priorities for tax policy. I discussed the principles laid out in “Competing to Win” and urged our elected leaders to act in a bold way. “We operate in a fiercely competitive global economy, and we need a fiercely competitive tax system to win,” I reminded them.

It can get lost in the news, but manufacturers really are making progress on our big-ticket items. We have an administration who is listening to us and has already acted to ease the regulatory burden. On Capitol Hill, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have introduced a bipartisan regulatory reform bill. President Trump released his tax reform blueprint, and Congress is holding hearings to begin the process. In addition, the administration is expected to release an infrastructure plan soon, after previously citing our “Building to Win” blueprint favorably.

If we keep up the hard work and keep speaking out, we can seize this opportunity and get real results for manufacturers—and our whole country.

Top Three Ways to Inspire Female Students to Pursue a Career in Manufacturing

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By Melsha Winchester, Marketing Director, Bishop-Wisecarver Group, 2017 STEP Ahead Honoree

“Women are underrepresented in all manufacturing sectors,” according to the Untapped Resource study conducted by The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. There are many organizations focused on introducing and encouraging female students to pursue manufacturing careers, such as Women in Manufacturing, Association of Women in the Metal Industries and Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation just to name a few. It is apparent that one of the best way to attract female students is to have women already working in manufacturing careers share the career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry. “By reaching out to mentor a girl or young woman, you can change her life and put everyone’s future in good hands,said Tabby Biddle in her article Why Mentoring Young Women and Girls Is Important.

Bishop-Wisecarver, a California-based manufacturer, can be included in organizations focused on inspiring female students to pursue rewarding careers in manufacturing. I recognize that as a woman in the manufacturing industry and the marketing director at Bishop-Wisecarver, I have a great opportunity and responsibility to show young girls why a career in manufacturing is rewarding and fulfilling.

I wanted to share the top three ways manufacturers can get female students excited about pursuing a career in manufacturing that I have learned at Bishop-Wisecarver:

  1. Host a Manufacturing Day℠ or Private Plant TourEvery October, Bishop-Wisecarver hosts Manufacturing Day for local students and FIRST® teams. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers by having students tour their plants, ask questions and participate in hands-on activities. Our program at Bishop-Wisecarver also includes a career panel, where staff members talk about their careers in engineering, technology, sales, marketing and operations. Make sure that you include female staff members because young ladies will relate to women who are in roles thought mainly as “male roles.”
  2. Sponsor a Local FIRST TeamBishop-Wisecarver is proud to support two all-girls FIRST® teams for the 20162017 season. Our contribution helps students build skills in STEM to design extraordinary robots that compete in rigorous matches. STEM programs will help prepare students for careers in manufacturing.
  3. Support STEM-Based ProgramsDuring the year, Bishop-Wisecarver actively participates in local science fairs, engineering camps and summits. Our president, Pamela Kan, served as a mentor and panelist for female high school students in last year’s STEAM Summit organized by ASTRA. The support of these activities helps create opportunities for mentorship where female students can have a place to go when they have questions or need support.

As a recent recipient of the 2017 STEP Ahead Award, I had the opportunity to meet many women with rewarding careers in manufacturing. The discussions were riveting, and now I’m inspired to do more to reach young women to tell them why working for a manufacturing company is a great career choice. Learn more about the Institute’s STEP Ahead program here.

First Quarter Real GDP Revised from 0.7 Percent to 1.2 Percent Growth

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. economy grew 1.2 percent in the first quarter in newly revised figures. This improved slightly from the earlier estimate of 0.7 percent growth, but nonetheless, it continued to represent a slow start to the year. The upward revision stemmed mainly from improved data on consumer and business spending, even as the drag from inventory spending was somewhat larger.

To be fair, we traditionally have a sluggish first quarter followed by a strong rebound in the second quarter. My current forecast is for at least 3.0 percent growth in real GDP in the second quarter, with the economy expanding 2.2 percent for 2017 as a whole. Of course, these estimates might drift higher with passage of more pro-growth policies, especially in terms of the outlook later this year and into 2018.

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Infrastructure: But How Do We Pay for It?

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Written by Fluor Chairman and CEO/NAM Board of Directors Vice Chair David Seaton.

There is widespread consensus that America’s infrastructure needs help. It ranks 11th in the world, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has repeatedly graded it a D+.

As noted in the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Building to Wininfrastructure plan, “Without immediate action on the infrastructure crisis, the United States will lose more than 2.5 million jobs by 2025 and more than 5.8 million by 2040.” We have a big job ahead of us; the estimated funding needs exceed $1 trillion. So how do we pay for it? Read More