America’s Business

AT&T Chief Talks Growth in Washington

Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, appeared the Economic Club of Washington, DC, on June 17 to talk about the key ingredients for economic growth in the United States.

In a wide-ranging policy discussion, the head of the telecommunications giant honed in issues like immigration reform and tax reform as opportunities to drive and attract investment. Stephenson also highlighted the need for strong trade policies and the importance of free trade agreements. Currently, the United States’ ability to negotiate new agreements and complete pending ones is hindered by the lack of Trade Promotion Authority, which helps streamline the negotiation process.

Stephenson’s remarks send a powerful message from the business community about the necessity of engaging with Washington. Policymakers, whether on Capitol Hill or in the executive branch, need to hear from America’s job creators—because like it or not, what happens in Washington matters to businesses. We need to be at the table for these important discussions.

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Boeing Introduces a New Member to the Dreamliner Family

NAM Member Company, Boeing, introduced its second member of the Dreamliner family today.  The first flight of the new, innovative 787-9 successfully took place today at 1:30pm EST.

Boeing has always had a reputation for manufacturing advancements in air travel and they have done it again today with their new plane manufactured in Everett, WA.  The new 787-9 will carry more passengers, cargo, and has the ability to travel further than any other 787.  It is a more capable and efficient airplane than those that came before it.  The entire Boeing team, from the designers, engineers, executives and the men and women on the shop floor deserve a round of applause for taking air travel to the next level.

The NAM congratulates Boeing on delivering another state-of-the-art and efficient means of travel to customers around the world.

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Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc breaks ground on new headquarters

Early this month, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., a third-generation commercial restroom accessories manufacturer, broke ground on their 100,000 square foot headquarters, manufacturing, and distribution facility in North Hollywood.

The project was financed, in part, to enhance employment opportunities in the San Fernando Valley. Bobrick has always remained loyal to Los Angeles and to the local workforce in the area since the company’s founding.

Dedicated manufacturers like Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc. exemplify the local innovation and community pride that companies continue to have in today’s global economy. Bobrick’s new corporate headquarters proves that global corporations can impacts local communities far and wide through job creation and local economic impact.

Congratulations to Bobrick on their continued growth in the manufacturing sector and in their local community!

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NAM wishes ESCO Corporation a Happy 100th Birthday

On July 13th, Steel parts manufacturer, ESCO Corp. will celebrate their 100th Anniversary. ESCO has a rich history over their 100 years in the industry. The Portland based company originally catered primarily to the timber industry and has grown into a producer of wear parts and services for the mining, construction and industrial, and oil & gas industries. During World War II, the company produced bows, anchors and anchor chains for ships, cast parts for tanks and aircrafts, and draft line buckets to dredge channels and build air strips.

In 1973, the company became the first Steel Foundry in the world to use the Argon Oxygen Decarbonization (AOD process) to produce strong alloys. Today, ESCO has operations in 28 countries on six continents and employs 4,800 people around the world.

NAM would like to wish ESCO Corp. a very happy 100th birthday and send wishes for a prosperous future. The manufacturing industry is a place where strong and enduring companies stretch centuries and generations and ESCO is a perfect example of this long lasting prosperity and innovation.

Congratulations ESCO!

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American Posts, LLC awarded ‘End-User Efficiency Initiative of the Year’

Last week American Posts, LLC won the Platts Global Metals Award for ‘End-User Efficiency Initiative of the Year’ Award for their innovative steel u-channel post manufacturing techniques. Foreign production competition threatened this Ohio based and family owned steel manufacturer, but innovations in efficiency and investments in production, moved American Posts in place to compete. As the last manufacturer of steel u-posts for the lawn and garden industry left in the United States, American Posts, LLC is staying true to their motto, “Buy a Stake in America.”

Manufacturers in America continue to lead the way in innovation and American Posts is a great example. In order to stay competitive in the fierce global marketplace, manufacturers need Washington to move forward with pro-growth policies. The NAM has released a Growth Agenda which outlines the policies needed to help manufacturers compete.

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Records Fell at Wisconsin’s Brat Fest

Pastrami may be the “most sensual of the salted, cured meats,” but sausage is definitely the most versatile. It’s great at breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be the centerpiece of a meal or it can spice up an otherwise ordinary dish. Sausage is great on the grill during a backyard barbecue, or it can highlight that overpriced charcuterie plate at the bistro down the street. I am hungry just thinking about it.

America may not have created sausages, but I’d argue no country does it better than we do today—and one of our leading lights is Johnsonville. From humble origins at a Sheboygan County butcher shop decades ago, Johnsonville now hawks its tubesteaks around the world.

But even though it has conquered the U.S. market and is rapidly expanding globally, the company is not resting on its laurels. It’s introducing new products, testing new flavors—and of course, crafting the WORLD’S LONGEST BRAT.

Last week, Johnsonville unleashed a monster 54 foot, 10 inch brat at the World’s Largest Brat Fest in Madison, Wisconsin. The lengthy link bettered the previous world record by more than two feet.

After marveling at the feat, Brat Festers were able to enjoy the sausage, which was cut into more manageable portions. Proceeds went to charity.

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NAM Member Kawasaki To Make New Subway Cars for DC Metro

By night, Washington, D.C. is a mid-sized American city of roughly 600,000 people, somewhere between Baltimore and Nashville.  By day, the population explodes to over a million.  If those commuters aren’t battling some of the worst traffic in the nation, there’s a good chance they are taking Metro, the D.C. area’s public transit system.

And, in a couple years, they’ll be riding in style in new train cars (the 7000 series, to be precise), all brought to you by manufacturing in the United States.

Yesterday, Metro unveiled its new railcar, which will made by NAM-member Kawasaki at its rail car manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kawasaki has made train cars for transit systems across the country.

Among the innovations in the new Metro cars are floors composed of “a dark, nonslip vinyl colored with blue, red and white specks that focus groups favored for its patriotic feeling.” Many riders will welcome the new doors, which no longer will crush unsuspecting tourists. “The new doors will have a ‘sensitive edge’ that can determine when a rider is trapped as the doors close, the Washington Examiner reports. “The doors will spring open slightly but not all the way, said Metro’s chief vehicle engineer, Joseph Reynolds.”

And there’s more. Metro highlights some other features of the new cars and offers a sneak peak of what’s to come.


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Keeping the Focus on the Fundamentals of Competitiveness

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm recently wrote that she is “obsessed — obsessed — with cracking the code on how to get more manufacturing in the U.S.”

Strong language perhaps—she uses a variant of “obsess” three times in the first 10 words of her op-ed—but so far, so good.  We all want more manufacturing because it means more jobs, more innovation, and stronger productivity, to name just a few of the benefits.

But Granholm’s policy prescriptions won’t satisfy her self-described obsession, as NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons explains in a response to the former governor. He writes,

Granholm fails to note that it is 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared with our major trading partners, and that differential does not include the cost of labor….

The Granholm agenda includes many “incentives” that involve budget expenditures. That won’t work, particularly in light of today’s fiscal constraints. Instead, let’s get the U.S. government on the side of manufacturers. Internationally competitive taxes, balanced and less costly regulations and affordable and reliable energy supplies are three prescriptions that will enable manufacturing to grow and thrive in the United States. These are common-sense solutions that will work. Instead, too many politicians simply offer plans that sound good but avoid the real solutions needed to encourage investment and create jobs right here at home.

With manufacturing in the spotlight, it’s no surprise that politicos and pundits are offering up their ideas for growing manufacturing in the United States.  The debate is constructive and worthwhile. But we can’t overlook the fundamentals of competitiveness as we sift through the multitude of ideas to revitalize manufacturing.  Pro-growth tax, regulatory, energy and trade policies are prerequisites to a manufacturing renaissance in America.

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With Conventions Over, Time To Put Policy Over Politics

Just as he did in his State of the Union address eight months ago, President Obama again put manufacturing front and center last night in his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

He touted some achievements of his term—new manufacturing jobs and three new free trade agreements—but then laid out a new challenge for the next four years: creating one million manufacturing jobs.

That’s a laudable goal, but it’s clear that something has to change. President Obama simply rehashed some of the policies of his current administration—growing exports, for example (which we, of course, support). But manufacturers need bolder policy prescriptions. After all, the jobs report this morning reflected that manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs last month. If the status quo isn’t working now, why should Americans expect more of the same to lead to one million new jobs?

Of course, the first step in creating one million jobs is to stop going backwards. But that is exactly what is going to continue happening in a few months if our leaders don’t decisively deal with the impending fiscal abyss. The fiscal abyss means job losses for small and medium-sized manufacturers as a result of tax increases as well as job losses for innovators in the defense industry, who will be hit hard by indiscriminate cuts that will do little to solve our long-term fiscal challenges. Add to that the significantly mounting regulatory costs on manufacturers, and the result is a business climate that stifles job creation.

Neither candidate offered policy specifics these past two weeks. Over the next two months, they should. The problems facing manufacturers are abundantly clear, and manufacturers want to hear what both candidates plan to do to solve them.

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Trade Growth Essential for Manufacturing Renaissance

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons is blogging from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week. 

Jay Timmons makes remarks at an NAM/Politico event on jobs and the economy. / Photo by David Bohrer

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its week at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) today. Just as we did in Tampa, we are partnering with Politico, and today we hosted an event featuring a number of top policymakers who are attending the DNC.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell joined Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina and former Rep. Susan Molinari, who is now a government affairs executive with Google, at the Politico Hub. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer also participated, as did Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors.

The panelists gave a nod to manufacturing as a bright spot in the economic recovery, but news this morning once again demonstrated that we have a lot of work ahead of us. Manufacturing contracted in August, the third month in a row. Reflecting on the global economic uncertainty, Goolsbee commented, “Most any country in the world would rather have our problems.”

But that is little consolation to the 8.3 percent of Americans who are unemployed, and the millions more who are underemployed.  The United States did not achieve its economic leadership by default—because our competitors were worse off.  We did so by out-innovating and out-working them, feats made possible by our system of free enterprise.

Economist Austan Goolsbee fields questions at an NAM/Politico event on jobs and the economy. / Photo by David Bohrer

One tenet of free enterprise is free trade, and a topic that came up repeatedly during the panel discussion today was trade. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Reaching these customers is critical for manufacturers’ growth, yet obstacles stand in the way of increased exports.

For one, many nations have tariffs or other trade barriers that make products from the U.S. less competitive. The U.S. can help bring these barriers down through free trade agreements. But right now, out of the dozens of trade pacts being negotiated around the world, the U.S. is party to just one.

Revitalizing the nation’s trade agenda is one part of a pro-growth plan to strengthen manufacturing and grow jobs and the economy. The NAM has an agenda that will lead the way.

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