NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week.
Last night, Mitt Romney wrapped up the Republican Convention and succinctly summed up what this election is about. “What America needs is jobs,” he said. “Lots of jobs.”
Jobs are indeed what will get voters to the polls. Unemployment has stood over 8 percent for 42 consecutive months—that spans President’s Obama’s entire presidency. Worse still, millions more Americans are working in jobs for which they are overqualified, not getting the full benefit of the skills they have worked so hard to acquire.
Governor Romney promised to create 12 million jobs, and while he did not single out manufacturing, he did lay out a number of priorities for manufacturers. He talked about an “all-of-the-above” energy plan—though he did not use that term—but it was clear what he meant when he talked about “taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.”
He talked about new free trade agreements, a key priority if American manufacturers are to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the United States. President Obama deserves credit for seeing the Colombia, Panama and South Korea trade pacts through to completion, but our country’s trade agenda has since stalled. We need to get it moving again.
Romney talked about providing our young people with the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace and simplifying and modernizing our complex and onerous regulatory system. Both are important to manufacturers’ ability to grow and create jobs.
Now it’s on to Charlotte, where President Obama and his supporters will have their chance to make the case for another term. President Obama will undoubtedly defend his record, but manufacturers are also expecting to hear what he plans to do if voters decide to extend his stay in the White House.
Eight percent unemployment and stagnant economic growth is unacceptable, and with the elections just two months away, manufacturers expect a clear pro-growth vision from Republicans and Democrats alike.