NAM’s Executive Insights Series Makes its First 2016 Stop in North Carolina

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Manufacturing executives gathered in North Carolina today for a panel discussion on innovation, the future of manufacturing and key policies. The panel was hosted by John Ferriola, Chairman, CEO and President of Nucor; other participants included Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO, Matt Barr, Chairman and CEO of Carolina Color Corporation and John Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Stanley, Black and Decker Inc.

Heading into a presidential election year, panelists discussed policies that candidates should be prioritizing to promote growth in the manufacturing sector. Last week, the NAM released a roadmap for political candidates, “Competing to Win: Manufacturers’ Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism.”


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NAM Concludes 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in Baltimore, Maryland

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National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons concluded the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour on February 5th at Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore, Md. The event was the last stop in a tour throughout seven states to highlight the vital role the industry plays in the U.S. economy and the changing perceptions of manufacturing. While in Maryland, Timmons also launched the NAM’s “Power of Small” campaign, an effort focused on highlighting the importance of small manufacturers to the nation’s economy.

“We’re proud to conclude our tour at Marlin Steel,” said Timmons. “After meeting with students, manufacturers, community leaders and elected officials across the country, I have great confidence in the future of manufacturing. Our shop floors are no longer the factories of our parents’ generation; they are state-of-the-art facilities driving an innovation revolution that will change our lives and strengthen our country. We still face challenges, which is why in this election year, we must hold candidates and leaders accountable and insist they support manufacturing not just with their words but also with their policies. For generations, manufacturers have built incredible things and improved the human condition. Now it’s time to apply the talent, dedication and spirit we saw throughout our tour toward the task of building a brighter future—to secure economic growth, more jobs and rising standards of living for all.”

In The News!

Opinion: Maryland’s undergoing a manufacturing revolution




Under Armour and Marlin Steel Tour Pictures:

Modern Manufacturing Tweet Chat with Siemens USA President Eric Spiegel and Marlin Steel Wire CEO Drew Greenblatt


January Jobs Numbers Offer Bit of Encouragement for Manufacturers

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The latest data on manufacturing employment provides a bit of encouragement for manufacturers that have been beleaguered by the global slowdown and pullbacks in the energy sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturing employment rose by 29,000 in January, much stronger than expected at the start of the new year. It was the fourth consecutive monthly job gain and the strongest since November 2014, when manufacturing demand and production were growing more robustly than seen today. There are currently 12.36 million workers in the sector, with manufactures adding 903,000 more employees since the Great Recession. At the same time, it is important to note that employment growth has been quite soft for much of the past year, with the sector adding just 33,000 workers in 2015. Read More

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner: Manufacturing Is a Driving Force in State Economy

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Yesterday, as a part of the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons was outside of Chicago talking to students, faculty, community and state leaders and business owners about the future of manufacturing. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been a supporter of manufacturing in the state and speaks to manufacturing’s growth and potential.

State of Manufacturing Tour Day 5 Wrap: Timmons Sees Manufacturing Future at Harper College in Chicago, Illinois

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There are some days that are special and stand out even on the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour, which has been an exciting, rewarding, educational and enlightening experience. Meeting with manufacturers, students and community leaders, talking about issues that matter and how to ensure manufacturers continued success is among the highlights, but today outside of Chicago, Illinois, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons met with the future of manufacturing.

Timmons was joined by Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) President and CEO Greg Baise, Siemens Foundation CEO David Etzwiler and the Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Jennifer McNelly to meet students and faculty at Palatine High School and Harper College. Both schools offer programs that not only encourage future jobs in manufacturing, but also show students how manufacturing careers can be life changing.

2016 State of Manufacturing Social Media Infographics-17

At the event, Timmons delivered his 2016 State of Manufacturing address and focused on key issues impacting workforce and the perception of manufacturing.

Highlights on Developing America’s Workforce:
“Over the next decade, the United States will need to fill 3.4 million manufacturing jobs. But 2 million of those jobs are likely to remain empty because there’s a shortage of trained workers. It’s what we call the ‘skills gap,’ and it affects all of us…through lost innovation, lower productivity and suppressed economic activity. The problem is especially disheartening given how hard it’s been lately for even college graduates to find good jobs…even though manufacturers have plenty to offer. The average manufacturing worker earns over $79,000 annually…$15,000 more than the national average for other industries. These wages can provide a good life for a family while saving for education and retirement. Why, then, are only 37 percent of parents encouraging their kids to pursue manufacturing careers? And why do only 18 percent of students view manufacturing as a top career choice? Because many people don’t understand modern manufacturing. Images of gritty factory floors of a century ago still hold sway. Manufacturers need to replace those images with visions of what manufacturing is today.”

Highlights on Changing the Perception of Manufacturing:
“Want to feed the world? Manufacturing is transforming agricultural technologies to provide plentiful, nutritious food for a growing population. Want clean energy and a sustainable economy? Well, that’s manufacturing, too—and it will require creativity and innovation. Want to save lives and treat debilitating diseases? Manufacturing includes pharmaceuticals. Want to invent the next revolutionary smart device? That’s manufacturing. More students—and their families, teachers and mentors—need to realize the opportunities that exist in manufacturing.” To read the whole speech, don’t forget to check out the President’s blog.

While at Palatine High School and Harper College, Timmons and the team met with students who have a passion for manufacturing.

IL Blog Wrap2
Leading into today’s event and highlighting the key workforce issues, Timmons and Baise had an op-ed run in a popular Chicago area political blog.

Joint Op-Ed in ReBoot Illinois: U.S., Illinois Manufacturing Depends on Educated Workforce for 21st Century
By Jay Timmons and Greg Baise

No matter what issues the presidential candidates raise in their speeches, this election is about one thing: What will be the future of the United States?

If we want a future that produces better opportunities and raising standards of living, then we need to strengthen our global economic leadership. To do that, we will have to marshal all the human talent available to us.

Unfortunately, there are barriers preventing us from producing a workforce worthy of our people and our potential. To read the full op-ed, check it out here.

Media Wrap
Leading up to the event, Timmons was on Chicago’s WIND AM 560 – The Answer with Dan Proft. Listen to the show here. Timmons also appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” with Rick Santelli live from the Chicago Board of Trade.


Social Media Wrap Day 5
We came to Chicago excited for what the Windy City has to offer. Check out the highlights from our social media and don’t forget to follow @shopfloorNAM on Twitter and Shopfloor on Facebook for the latest updates from the road.

SM Wrap

Want to keep in touch with the NAM as we continue on the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @shopfloorNAM and online at and share your tweets and pics with #stateofmfg and #weareMFG.

ADP: Manufacturing Employment Was Flat in January

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ADP said that manufacturing employment was flat in January, pulling back after hiring gains of 3,000 and 4,000 in November and December, respectively. Employment growth has been quite soft over the course of the past year, with manufacturing demand and production hampered by the global slowdown, a strong dollar and weaknesses in the energy sector. On a year-over-year basis, the ADP data show a decline of 18,000 employees on net for manufacturing since January 2015. This contrasts with Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which found an increase of 30,000 workers in 2015. New BLS data will come out on Friday for January.

Meanwhile, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 205,000 in January, pulling back from an increase of 267,000 in December. Yet, this was also not far from the 200,000 average experienced over the past 13 months. This is also the consensus expectation for nonfarm payrolls for Friday’s BLS report. In January, the largest job gains were in professional and business services (up 44,000); trade, transportation and utilities (up 35,000); construction (up 21,000) and financial activities (up 19,000). Small and medium-sized businesses (e.g., those with less than 500 employees) accounted for more than 78.5 percent of all net new workers in January.

State of Manufacturing Tour Day 4 Wrap: Timmons and Team Take on Philadelphia to Talk Healthcare and Innovation

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NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and the NAM team stopped in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the fourth day of the State of Manufacturing Tour. On a day focused on innovation and changing perceptions on manufacturing, Timmons gave his address at the state-of-the-art Glaxo SmithKline facility in Philadelphia.

At the event, co-hosted by The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association (PMA) and Glaxo SmithKline (GSK), healthcare and innovation were at the center of the conversation. Timmons was joined by David N. Taylor, PMA president and Jack Bailey, GSK president of U.S. pharmaceuticals, two manufacturing champions.

GSKBlog1 Highlights from the address on healthcare:
“It’s an issue that has become so riven by political discord, we are losing sight of our end goal…giving workers and families affordable access to high-quality healthcare to keep them well. This is something NAM cares deeply about.  NAM members offer employee health insurance coverage at a higher rate than other industries. In fact, 97 percent of companies supply it. Now part of the challenge is making sure we prescribe the right medicine for healthcare. Here at GlaxoSmithKline, you understand matching the intervention to the patient. When treatments rely on our own genes to spark the right immunological response…well, it doesn’t get more individualized than that. Personalized treatment is the trend in medicine. On the policy front, however, there’s some movement in the opposite direction—away from the individually tailored and toward the one size fits all.”

GSK Blog 2

Highlights from the address on innovation:

“Manufacturers account for more than three-fourths of private sector R&D. We’ve been awarded more patents than any other industry. To secure our competititiveness, we must respond with a policy environment designed to attract and retain investment…and with strong protections of intellectual property.

“We must be vigilant and push back on aggressive state legislatures that want to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to turn over and reveal highly sensitive operational information—such as pricing on specific products, marketing costs, research investments and funding streams that support new and product development. It’s a misguided effort that will sap innovation, and it’s of great concern. No manufacturer should have to provide an unprecedented view of proprietary operations or its most sensitive information.

“Manufacturers will not accept this, nor will we sit quietly. Intellectual property rights must also be a central issue in trade agreements. As we work to open new markets, we cannot allow our hard-won innovations to be appropriated by our competitors. And as we champion the Internet of Things, we’ll need to modernize our communications laws to fit this new era and find new ways for ensuring our cybersecurity.”

To read the full address, check it out on the President’s Blog.

Timmons and team also toured the Philadelphia Distillery and spoke with employees about the challenges of being a small manufacturers and what they want to see from Washington.

Highlights from the tour:

PD BlogF

U.S. Representative Pat Meehan, who represents Pennslyvania’s 7th District, sent us a video since he is in Washington D.C. for votes and work. Rep. Meehan discusses how manufacturers in Pennsylvania are thriving.

Joint Op-Ed in Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: Much Debate but Few Solutions on Health Care
By David N. Taylor, PMA president and Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO

“If you feel like the health-care debate has grown stale, know you’re not alone. Despite the many presidential candidates vying to lead this nation, we are hearing little new on the topic. Vitriol and political discord continue to bar us from identifying solutions to control costs, fuel innovation, preserve the employer-based health-care system, and take care of workers and their families.

“This matters to Pennsylvania, where health care is an issue not just for families but also for manufacturing. As a home to many pharmaceutical leaders and medical-technology innovators, the Keystone State is on the leading edge of medical manufacturing.”

To read the full op-ed, check it out here.

Social Media Wrap on Philadelphia:

We came to Philadelphia with big expectations and the City of Brotherly Love did not disappoint. Check out the highlights from our social media and don’t forget to follow @shopfloorNAM on Twitter and Shopfloor on Facebook for the latest updates from the road.


Don’t forget ShopFloor is on Instagram with daily updates from NAM’s Erin Streeter. Follow us @shopfloorNAM

Check out this message from the road of the #StateofMFG Tour. #WeAreMFG

A video posted by shopfloornam (@shopfloornam) on

And the NAM is on vine with a behind-the-scene look at the tour.

Want to keep in touch with the NAM as we continue on the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @shopfloorNAM and online at and share your tweets and pics with #stateofmfg and #weareMFG.

State of Manufacturing Tour Day 3 Daily Wrap: Visiting Boeing and Trident Technical College

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NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and the NAM team stop in Charleston, South Carolina on the third day of the State of Manufacturing Tour. While highlighting manufacturing opportunity and growth in the state, Timmons along with South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Ted Pitts and Siemens USA president and CEO Eric Spiegel tour  a state-of-the-art Boeing shopfloor and meet with students, faculty and business leaders at Trident Technical College.

jay tridentAt Trident Technical College, Timmons delivered the State of Manufacturing Address highlighting key workforce issues, especially important to students looking to start careers in manufacturing, teachers and professors who are educating future manufacturers and business leaders who are creating these opportunities.

From Timmons’ address: “There’s a reason more South Carolinians have jobs today. There’s a reason more than 26,000 new manufacturing jobs have been announced, and the state continues to recruit more jobs.  There’s a reason why Boeing and others are investing billions of dollars here to create state-of-the-art facilities. We can find solutions to drive growth, if only we find the will first. We also need to use that will to strengthen our workforce. Over the next decade, we will need to fill an estimated 3.4 million manufacturing jobs. But 2 million of those positions will likely remain empty because there’s a shortage of workers with the right skills—often high-tech skills.”

To read Timmons’ full remarks, check it out on the President’s blog.

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ted Pitts joined Timmons for this stop and has been a vocal advocate for continued growth in manufacturing.

“We are proud to partner with the NAM and Trident Technical College in order to highlight the importance of manufacturing in South Carolina,” said Pitts. “Representing 30 percent of jobs in South Carolina, the success of our manufacturers is critical to our state. But their success hinges on being able to fill their jobs with highly skilled people. Over the next decade, more than 3 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. A top priority at the State Chamber, as laid out in our 2016 Competitiveness Agenda, is addressing the skills gap in South Carolina. Ultimately, what it will take to be successful is for our state, schools and businesses to work together to address our workforce needs. And Trident Technical College, with its aeronautical training center, is a prime example of a collaboration to fill our state’s workforce needs as we continue to bring in high-tech manufacturers to South Carolina.”

Timmons also continued to showcase “Competing to Win: Manufacturers’ Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism” —a roadmap to guide manufacturing voters and candidates.
“At the NAM, we want to make it easy on our leaders, said Timmons. “We’re spelling out exactly the right policies for manufacturers to compete and win, so that America can compete and win. Last week, we unveiled our 2016 Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism. ‘Competing to Win’ is an agenda that is guided by four core values that also happen to be foundational principles of this country that we love.”

IMG_5609 IMG_5612

Today Timmons also premiered a brand new Get Out The Vote video to engage and spark excitement ahead of the Iowa Caucuses and the primary season. The video narrated by NAM member and owner of Atlas Machine and Supply Company Rich Gimmel  urges all manufacturing voters participate in the upcoming primaries and general elections.  For more information on how to engage, check out our election center.

In The News:


Joint Op-Ed from Charleston Post and Courier: Building a workforce for the future
By Dr. Mary Thornley and Jay Timmons

As the 2016 election cycle heats up, South Carolina grabs national attention as the first primary in the South. The Palmetto State should take this opportunity to define the national agenda — putting a spotlight on what America needs to succeed.
Jay sun 6 One issue that deserves a place in every candidate’s policy proposals is workforce development. Our manufacturers — the companies that create the products that touch each of our lives — are renowned innovators in the global marketplace. Yet, manufacturers’ potential — and therefore the nation’s potential — is threatened by a shortage of skilled employees.

Even as many college graduates struggle to find work, manufacturers cannot fill a significant proportion of their open positions

To read the full op-ed, click here.

Social Media:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.50.27 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.49.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.48.41 PM

Want to keep in touch with the NAM as we continue on the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @shopfloorNAM and online at and share your tweets and pics with #stateofmfg and #weareMFG.

State of Manufacturing Tour Day 3: Charleston, South Carolina Jay Timmons Opening Remarks

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Jay Timmons, President and CEO of The National Association of Manufacturers Delivers Opening Remarks From Trident Technical College in Charleston, South Carolina

Good afternoon. It’s great to be here in this historic city and to be with students and educators, as well as leaders of this state.

We’re grateful that Senator Tim Scott joined us earlier today, and appreciate his participation in this program and for his leadership in maintaining our nation’s mantle of economic leadership.

I want to also thank a number of people for joining us, including…

…Dr. Mary Thornly for welcoming us to Trident Tech, and for the work you do every single day to equip the next generation of innovators and dreamers.

…South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, for your leadership as a champion for manufacturing and opportunity.

…Ted Pitts, for your partnership and tireless advocacy.

…Eric Spiegel, for being here and for sharing your insights. Siemens continues to make great contributions here in America, not just through the people you employ and the work you do—but also through the Siemens Foundation’s investment in building a 21st century manufacturing workforce.

Also, I want to recognize Anita Zucker, Chair and CEO of The InterTech Group, and a generous supporter of Trident Tech.


I’m here today to share with you the State of Manufacturing in the United States. Why manufacturing? It’s simple really. It’s because the strength of manufacturing in America is responsible for the success of America in the world. That is an indisputable fact. When manufacturing succeeds, America succeeds.

That may sound counterintuitive to some, and it belies the picture some would like to paint: that manufacturing means things of the past—old, gritty factories, simple tools and rudimentary machines. If that’s the image the word “manufacturing” conjures in your mind, then, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to introduce you to modern manufacturing.

Today’s manufacturing is vastly different from yesterday’s. Just a quick look at some of our members companies’ work will show you: modern manufacturing touches every aspect of our lives.

For example, I just visited Boeing in North Charleston, where the impressive Dreamliners are being produced…And in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, South Carolinians at BMW are building hundreds of thousands of vehicles a year and exporting to 140 countries.

But innovative manufacturing is everywhere…from the advances in sustainable paper products from Domtar and International Paper…

…to the new material developed by Milliken and Company that will allow windmill blades to last longer and capture more energy.

From the precision parts produced by Timken and Bommer Industries…

…to the vast new world of the Internet of Things, where everyday objects are now digitally interconnected.

First it was our phones. Then it was our thermostats, our watches, our cars. Soon it will be everything from our contact lenses to entire homes, where companies like Westinghouse are making the “digital home” a reality with advanced security that can be managed with a touch of a button from anywhere in the world.

That’s the Internet of Things…and that’s modern manufacturing.

By 2020, 26 billion objects will be linked together by the Internet. Manufacturing is truly changing everything…and all these things are changing America and changing our lives.

That’s why, today, manufacturing in the United States is leading an innovation revolution—a revolution that will win us jobs, raise standards of living and restore our mantle of leadership around the world.

It’s a revolution that will be on display this coming April—at the world’s largest industrial trade show in Hannover Messe, in Hannover, Germany. This year, the United States is the official partner country for the event, which last year drew 220,000 trade visitors to see the latest technologies and new frontiers of digital integration in manufacturing.  And the NAM, partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Siemens, is working on rallying more American manufacturers to participate—and to demonstrate our global leadership.


Of course, this leadership is already on display across America, as more than twelve million people are building our future in our industry. And manufacturing is adding more than $2 trillion to the national GDP.

Here in South Carolina, manufacturers employ nearly 12 percent of non-farm workers and contribute over $30 billion to the state economy.

And get this important data point: For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.40 is added to the economy. It’s why manufacturing improves our way of life and builds communities.

So, you see, the state of manufacturing matters. It matters for the state of our union.

But obstacles are still in the way of forging an economy that lives up to our people—and to the potential we can unleash.

Unavoidable headwinds, like global economic weakness and worldwide instability, have roiled manufacturing. While this will be slow to change, our leaders right here in our own country have the power to fix other self-imposed barriers to opportunity and success. They can fix policies in Washington that imperil our promise.

These barriers exist because Washington hasn’t yet summoned the will to change them. And because “We The People,” in some ways, haven’t done enough to fight for manufacturing as essential to American Exceptionalism and our future.

Just as “American Idol” is entering its final season this year, it’s also time to stop selecting political candidates based on how they sound, rather than what they can actually do for manufacturing and our country.

If you listen to the candidates out campaigning, whether it’s in the final hours before today’s Iowa Caucuses…or here in South Carolina for the First in the South Primary, they all support manufacturing…at least rhetorically. The same is true of many of our leaders.

But, words alone won’t create jobs or equip students. It takes action. That’s something Governor Haley and Secretary Hitt know well. Creating the right climate for economic growth takes the right policy agenda.

At the NAM, we want to make it easy on our leaders. We’re spelling out exactly the right policies for manufacturers to compete and win, so that America can compete and win.

Last week, we unveiled our 2016 Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism.

“Competing to Win” is an agenda that is guided by four core values that also happen to be foundational principles of this country that we love.

The first of these is free enterprise: powerful market forces that drive innovation and growth better than any system ever conceived in the history of mankind.

The second is competitiveness: our ability to expand markets and succeed in the global economy.

The third is individual liberty: the creativity and entrepreneurship unleashed by protecting, defending and advancing the basic freedoms enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And the fourth, equal opportunity: our shared belief that every one of us, if given the chance, has the potential to contribute to the success of our companies, our communities and our country.

Every policy proposal supports these principles—which are also the values that have made and that will keep America exceptional.

Our message is this: If a candidate wants to be a manufacturing president…if Congress wants to energize the manufacturing economy….if you want to be a manufacturing voter…this is the agenda.

We zero in on 11 areas:

  • tax;
  • trade;
  • energy;
  • environment;
  • transportation and infrastructure;
  • labor;
  • immigration;
  • workforce;
  • health care;
  • research, innovation and technology; and
  • regulatory and legal reform

That’s more topics than we have time for here….so I’ll focus on just three…starting with a big one. Taxes.

To unleash a wave of growth—and create new jobs for students like you, we have to fix our broken, decrepit tax code. Companies in America pay a higher tax rate than their competitors in every other developed, major economy.

We want to lead in the global economy, but our tax code means we’re starting from behind.

Comprehensive tax reform means…

  • 5 million jobs added to the U.S. economy over 10 years;
  • Lower tax burdens for companies of all sizes, including the millions of small businesses that drive job creation in America;
  • Driving down the corporate rate to 25 percent or lower; and
  • Moving away from a seemingly prehistoric tax system that taxes worldwide income…to a modern, territorial system so U.S. companies can compete on a level playing field when they do business overseas.

We can’t let Congress or the president kick the can down the road any further, and we must demand a cooperative approach.

A model is that of President Ronald Reagan…who in his second term worked with, rather than around or against Congress, to enact comprehensive tax reform.

But we can’t stop with taxes. Our regulatory and legal systems are also broken. In fact, our legal system is more than twice as expensive as major competitors such as Japan, France and Canada. And the total cost of federal regulation exceeds $2 trillion each year and is on the rise.

Manufacturers bear a disproportionate share of that burden. Regulatory compliance costs for small manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees total almost $35,000 per employee per year—more than three times the cost for the average U.S. company.

That’s money that could be spent on paychecks or new hires. So what do we do about it?

Well, we could follow South Carolina’s lead. Governor Haley has done a lot to simplify regulation. She brought in the job creators who understand these burdens firsthand, and they reviewed some 3,000 state regulations and recommended improvements.

This wasn’t just a feel-good excercise. Their ideas are now the basis for executive and legislative remedies—and they’re working.

There’s a reason more South Carolinians have jobs today. There’s a reason more than 26,000 new manufacturing jobs have been announced, and the state continues to recruit more jobs.  There’s a reason why Boeing and others are investing billions of dollars here to create state-of-the-art facilities. We can find solutions to drive growth, if only we find the will first.

We also need to use that will to strengthen our workforce.

Over the next decade, we will need to fill an estimated 3.4 million manufacturing jobs. But 2 million of those positions will likely remain empty because there’s a shortage of workers with the right skills—often high-tech skills.

It’s what we call the “skills gap.” It affects all of us in lost innovation and productivity.

It also represents a missed opportunity. The average manufacturing worker earns over $79,000 annually – $15,000 more than the national average.

So why aren’t more students preparing for manufacturing careers? Part of the problem is that only 37 percent of parents encourage their kids to do so. And only 18 percent of people see it as a top career choice.

One way that perception will change is by updating and invigorating our training programs. We should make it easier for students to earn industry-recognized credentials in schools…to acquire the skills the real world demands. Trident Tech is doing this. You’re leading the way. Others need to learn from you.

Our Manufacturing Institute is focused on this challenge. Executive Director Jennifer McNelly is here with us today, and she works every day to tackle these challenges—changing perceptions and equipping students.

If we take steps like these to close the skills gap, we will enable a new generation of workers to achieve great things for their communities and this country.


That’s what all of this is about—helping people build better lives.

To offer the mom living in the Upstate a job to provide for her children today and her retirement tomorrow…

To give the family in the Midlands the chance to advance and improve their standard of living…

To ensure the veteran coming home to the Lowcountry can enjoy the freedom she defended for all of us overseas…=

And to give communities a foundation for growth and hope for tomorrow.

Throughout America’s history, manufacturers have made our country stronger by the people we employ, the lives we touch and the products we make.

Today, building a stronger country requires something else: bringing the right leaders together to get the job done…people who believe in those four foundational principles of free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

You know, leading our great nation is about more than who can yell the loudest, or who can denigrate others most, or who can express the least desire to work across ideological lines. No, true leadership that is worthy of the promise of America brings out the best in all of us.

A great leader unites. He or she doesn’t divide.

That is why manufacturers are raising our collective voices—the more than 12 million voices in the Manufacturing Army—to speak out…and take a stand. We need you to join us—to question candidates and to vote for those who support real solutions and real leadership.

We’re manufacturers. We make things—incredible, life-changing things. And now, it’s up to us to make a difference again—for the future of our country.