Manufacturing Essential to a Thriving Middle Class

By August 13, 2012General

NAM Board Member Carlos Cardoso, president and CEO of Kennametal, Inc., authored a guest column in Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer on the importance of manufacturing to the middle class.

His piece captures the essence of what manufacturing means on  both the micro and macro levels. Manufacturing provides financial security through good paying jobs for the 12 million men and women who make things in America; it offers a boon for local economies by creating jobs in other sectors throughout the community (for every $1 spent on manufacturing, $1.35 comes back into the economy); and it serves as a vital cog in our national economy by playing a major role in economic growth and job creation.

“For decades, good manufacturing jobs allowed workers to own homes and cars, take nice family vacations, satisfy their health care needs, send children to college and retire with financial security.

The importance of this group — the manufacturing middle class — to the United States has been immeasurable. Manufacturing jobs created a vision of American life that led immigrants around the world to our shores.

As chairman, president and CEO of Kennametal Inc., I have personally witnessed the American dream become a reality for many of our employees, including the 280 who work at our durable steel engineered solutions and standards facility in Solon and the additional 720 at our three other Ohio-based locations.”

Mr. Cardoso astutely warns that shifting away from manufacturing endangers both the middle class and our overall economic health. He speaks candidly about the difficulties that manufacturers face and the need for pro-growth policies from Washington in order to help them thrive. It’s an excellent column and the presidential candidates would do well to heed the advice and personal experience Mr. Cardoso offers.

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