Well, that’s it for 2006. And looking back, 2006 held a lot of good news for manufacturers.
Manufacturing output hit record levels of production, twice the growth of the overall economy. Productivity rose more than 4.5 percent — triple the productivity increase in other sectors of the economy. Factory-floor jobs stabilized and even added a few.
And earlier in December, Congress passed priority legislation for manufacturers — expanding access to domestic energy supplies — in other words, allowing drilling out in the Gulf of Mexico — reauthorizing the R&D tax credit, and renewing important trade benefits to keep exports strong.
Many challenges remain, of course, those involved in addressing the 32 percent cost disadvantage U.S. manufacturers face compared to our major global trading competitors. Too many lawsuits, high taxes, regulations, employee mandates, expensive energy — all are financial burdens that make it harder for us to compete.
The NAM will work hard on these and other issues in 2007, and we’re optimistic about the new Congress’ willingess to act in support of the manufacturing economy and the 14 million workers it employs.
On behalf of all of us at the National Association of Manufacturers, I heartily wish you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
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