New NAM Video Explains Impact of Ozone Regulations

I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.” –President Obama, September 02, 2011

With the unemployment rate hovering above 9% and in the early stages of his reelection campaign, in September 2011, President Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop its work on a new ozone regulation – a regulation that by the administration’s own estimate would have cost industry and consumers as much as $90 billion per year. Now, just two and a half years later, the administration is once again considering a new ozone regulation, and again the costs to manufacturers and the economy could reach never-before-seen levels.

While we are still months away from the release of a proposed ozone rule, the rulemaking process is very much underway – EPA has developed its draft documents, its science advisors have met and environmental advocacy groups are in court seeking to expedite the whole process. Meanwhile, manufacturers are becoming uncomfortably reacquainted with the concept of the administration levying a regulation that makes expansion in many, if not most, parts of the country difficult at best and in some cases impossible.

With so much at stake for manufacturers, the NAM is committed to being involved at every stage of the ozone review and rulemaking process to ensure the administration gets it right. We will work with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government and educate the general public about the regulation, the steady and consistent air quality improvements that have been made over the last 30 years and the improvements that will continue to take place based on laws already on the books. But we will also work to ensure the public understands the consequences of the administration going too far by proposing unattainable standards and how with the right policies we can have both a clean environment and a strong manufacturing economy.

Below is a video the NAM developed that provides some background information on EPA’s review of a new ozone regulation and what’s at stake for manufacturers and the economy.

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Global Manufacturing Economic Update – April 11, 2014

Here is the summary for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update:

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now predicts global GDP growth of 3.6 percent in 2014 and 3.9 percent in 2015. The forecast for this year was essentially unchanged from the outlook in October, and it suggests that the global economy continues to recover. Global growth in 2013 was 3.0 percent. The IMF projects U.S. growth of 2.8 percent this year and 3.0 percent next year, up from 1.9 percent last year. Europe is another area where the IMF sees progress this year—albeit quite modestly—with real GDP growth of 1.2 percent in 2014 and 1.5 percent in 2015, with the continent emerging from its deep two-year recession. Despite the slightly better data overall, the IMF worries about low inflation in advanced economies, structural challenges in emerging markets and geopolitical risks.

The IMF also notes that China’s economy continues to decelerate, with real GDP growth of 7.5 percent in 2014 and 7.3 percent in 2015. This is consistent with recent data, which show activity in the manufacturing sector slowing down. The HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has contracted for three straight months with falling levels of new orders and output. On the positive side, export sales appeared to pick up a bit in March. Next week, we will get new data for industrial production, fixed-asset investment and retail sales. Each has eased significantly in recent reports. Still, even with these slower rates, the outlook for China remains strong overall, and China has already begun to put stimulative measures in place to boost the economy further. As noted in the past report, the Bank of China has also supported a depreciation of the yuan in the past few months, but it asserts that its actions have been mainly to fend off speculators.

Weaknesses in China and Russia have also weighed heavily on manufacturing activity figures for emerging markets. The HSBC Emerging Markets Manufacturing PMI fell below 50 for the first time since July as demand and production stagnated. Nonetheless, outside of China and Russia, the picture for emerging markets was somewhat more positive. Several countries continued to experience modest growth rates, albeit with a slower pace than the month before in some cases. Two notable strengths among emerging markets hail from Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic and Poland continue to see strong growth in their manufacturing sectors despite some deceleration in March. For instance, the production index in the Czech Republic has now exceeded 60 for two straight months, a sign that output is experiencing healthy gains of late.

In all of Europe, manufacturers report slow-but-steady progress. The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI has now expanded for nine consecutive months, an encouraging sign after the deep two-year recession. France, which had lagged behind many of its peers on the continent, had its manufacturing PMI figure exceed 50 for the first time since July 2011. However, overall economic growth remains modest. The unemployment rate continues to be elevated, even as it fell below 12 percent for the first time in 13 months. Weak income growth has caused many to worry about possible deflationary concerns. Annual inflation rates in the Eurozone have fallen from 1.7 percent in March 2013 to 0.5 percent in March 2014, and producer prices declined in February. Aware of these trends, the European Central Bank (ECB) held interest rates steady and said it was prepared to pursue quantitative easing, if necessary, to stimulate the economy further.

Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit widened in February due to a decrease in goods exports and an increase in service-sector imports. Manufactured goods exports in the first two months of 2014 were 0.6 percent lower than during the same time period last year, which was disappointing. Nonetheless, we continue to be optimistic that better economic growth rates abroad will lead to improvements on the export front. Fortunately, four of our top five markets for U.S.-manufactured goods notched year-to-date increases in the first two months relative to last year, including Mexico, China, Japan and Germany.

Efforts to move forward U.S.–European and Asian–Pacific negotiations continue, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) is heading to the next stage of implementing the recently completed Trade Facilitation Agreement. On the legislative side, Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank reauthorization efforts continue, while manufacturers keep pressing for congressional action on key trade legislation, such as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.

eurozone inflation rates - apr2014

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Manufacturers Comment on McCabe Nomination

Manufacturers have worked with Janet McCabe in various capacities in EPA’s air office and we enjoy a constructive working relationship. It’s no secret that we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on several of the regulations the air office has presided over. Greenhouse gas regulations are at the top of this list, and we hope EPA takes a more moderate approach.

EPA requirements for new power plants and their expected focus for existing power plants are simply not technologically achievable.  We know because our members make the technologies that EPA is basing its standards on.  The result will be to make our electricity supply less diverse, less reliable and more expensive.

A more balanced regulatory approach – one that is technologically achievable – would ensure American businesses and consumers continue to enjoy the affordability and reliability that results from an ‘all of the above’ approach to energy.  We hope the EPA will more carefully consider these concerns going forward.

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Important Sunscreen Innovation Act Before the House Energy & Commerce Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing today at 3:00 PM about the Sunscreen Innovation Act. You can watch the hearing live here. On March 13, Congress took an historic step forward as Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Congressmen Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Dingell (D-MI) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Sunscreen Innovation Act (S. 2141 and H.R.4250). This legislation is a responsible way to alleviate the current backlog of sunscreen ingredients, and streamline the review process so the public can gain access to the most effective and innovative sunscreen products.

The Public Access to SunScreens Coalition (PASS) Coalition is a multi-stakeholder coalition formed to advocate for a regulatory pathway that guarantees a transparent and timely review of new over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen ingredients by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The PASS Coalition is committed to working with the FDA, Congress, the White House, health providers, consumer organizations and stakeholders to establish a regulatory pathway for timely pre-market review of new, safe and effective sunscreen ingredients.

Although there are a variety of sunscreen products currently available in the market for Americans to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays, consumers have limited choices when it comes to broad-spectrum sunscreen products. That’s because FDA has not approved a new sunscreen ingredient since the 1990s.  Eight new sunscreen applications are currently pending at FDA, some for over a decade.  Each of the eight sunscreen products currently stuck in the FDA backlog have been used in Europe, Canada or Asia for at least five years and in some cases for over 15 years.

Make sure to urge your member of Congress and Senators to co-sponsor the Sunscreen Innovation Act.

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NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons Voices Manufacturers’ Priorities in Europe

This week, the NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons and I are in Brussels, Belgium and Berlin, Germany to advance manufacturing priorities in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations and to strengthen U.S.-European trade and investment ties.

Our first meeting on April 2 was with Member of the European Parliament Robert Sturdy, vice chair of the European Union (EU) Parliament’s International Trade Committee. We discussed ways to strengthen our collaboration in advocating for an ambitious, high-standard, comprehensive T-TIP agreement. Jay and I also discussed critical trade issues with U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner, and EU Trade Commissioner Karel DeGucht.  We also discussed manufacturers’ T-TIP priorities and opportunities to strengthen our partnership with Business Europe and other leading business organizations and manufacturers. In Berlin, we’ll be meeting with a range of government and business leaders as well as U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson.

Throughout this trip we have been advocating for a T‑TIP agreement that will significantly expand trade and investment between the United States and the EU and address global issues of common concern.  A comprehensive T-TIP would strengthen both our economies, which account for nearly half of global output of goods and services and 30 percent of global trade.

Jay has been emphasizing the importance of an agreement that further opens the transatlantic market, protects innovation and eliminates unnecessary barriers. He has also been identifying key priorities for manufacturers from regulatory coherence and transparency, to tariff elimination, intellectual property and investment protections and data flows, as well as highlighting opportunities for the EU and United States to work together to address common trade and investment challenges in markets around the world.

Next week, we head to Hannover, Germany, where Jay will speak at Hannover Messe 2014, the world’s largest industrial trade fair. In Hannover we will also meet with key policymakers and industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic, including advanced manufacturing, export models and skills training.

Jay will continue strongly voicing the high priority that manufacturers place on expanding international trade and investment ties with the EU and U.S. government leaders, leading European business associations and NAM member companies that are key to shaping the T-TIP negotiations.

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Help Wanted: Millennials Manufacture the Future

Millennials are expected to encompass one-third of the eligible electorate in the United States by 2016. They are the future of our country—and the future of the manufacturing workforce.

The need to recruit millennials into the manufacturing army is greater than ever before. Our mantle of economic leadership relies on their drive and determination, and that impact will only increase in the coming years. However, after asking some millennials what manufacturing means to them, and it’s clear they had a lot to learn about the industry.

This is the time for manufacturers to show the next generation of innovators the opportunities and benefits within the manufacturing sector.  Manufacturing is making a comeback, and we need to engage millennials now rather than later.

Watch to learn more on millennial thoughts on manufacturing here:

Help Wanted: Millennials Manufacture the Future

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Marlin Steel Moves Forward to Close the Skills Gap

“These is my team, I’m dedicated to their success. We’re all in this together.…  We’re doing our part in Baltimore, we’re doing our part in Maryland. The American manufacturing renaissance is happening, and we’re an example of it.” ~ Drew Greenblatt, President of Marlin Steel and Executive Committee Member of the NAM.

Marlin Steel, a Baltimore based manufacturer of wire baskets and precision metal work has been honored by the Hitachi Foundation for their transformative business practices. Across the United States, manufacturers are struggling to find the skilled workers they need to compete – Marlin Steel has developed a “skills matrix” that has worked wonders for the company and its employees. Greenblatt has invested in his employees and it has paid off in spades. The program  includes: Incentivizing employees by tying training to pay increases and promotions; Emphasizing cross-training, so that employees fit in a flexible production system, allowing them to respond quickly and efficiently to changing customer demands; and Creating a career ladder that boosts retention of high-quality employees.

The Hitachi Foundation, along with the Precision Metalforming Association has produced an outstanding video that tells the story of Marlin Steel and its workers. They’re closing the skills gap through innovation and investing in themselves. It’s well worth watching – more than once in my opinion.

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Waste Management a 2014 Most Ethical Company Honoree

Waste Management, Inc., the leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions in North America has been recognized as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company by Ethisphere Institute. The award, which highlights companies that raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior, is based on five categories –  ethics and compliance program (25%), reputation, leadership and innovation (20%), governance (10%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (25%) and culture of ethics (20%). Only two environmental service companies received this honor, and in a truly impressive note, this is the 7th time that Waste Management has taken home this hardware.

Upon receiving the award, CEO and President of Waste Management David Steiner said “This recognition reflects our most fundamental commitment to keeping the environment–and our people and our neighbors—safe. As an industry leader, we continue to develop strategies to extract value from waste stream to minimize our environmental impact, while at the same time demonstrating a culture where safety and ethics are core beliefs.”

We at the NAM tip our caps to the outstanding leadership of Waste Management and the impressive and committed men and women who work there.

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A Resilient Manufacturer

The news today on Toyota shows how resilient manufacturers are to challenges.  The NAM supports their efforts to be more responsive and customer focused through the major changes they have made.  Toyota is a strong manufacturing, technology and innovation company that supports more than 32,000 people in 10 manufacturing plants in the U.S., with a total investment to the U.S. economy of $26 billion.  They spend over $32 billion on parts, goods and services in North America every year, supporting an additional 60,000 supplier jobs, and they partner on education, environmental, and workforce initiatives in every community in which they operate.

They are a committed manufacturer dedicated to communities and families across the nation.

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Timmons Unveils New Video At NAM Board Meeting

Today, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons unveiled a new video that demonstrates the comeback of manufacturing and the future it holds for all Americans.

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