Manufacturers Energized by President-Elect’s Focus on Manufacturing

By | Communications, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement on the creation of the White House National Trade Council under the leadership of Dr. Peter Navarro.

Great things are on the horizon for manufacturers. Americans voted for change this election, and we’re energized by President-elect Trump’s continued strong commitment to manufacturing in the United States. Today, the president-elect sent another clear signal to the millions of Americans employed in manufacturing that they will be ‘put first’ in his administration.

“We welcome the president-elect’s decision to put action behind the force of his words with the formation of the White House National Trade Council. We look forward to working with the president-elect and Dr. Navarro to enact the policies we need to strengthen and grow manufacturing in America.

 

 

Administration’s Attempt to Block Access to Offshore Energy Is “Out of Touch”

By | Energy, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

In what many are describing as a purely political move, the outgoing administration announced a last-minute attempt to block much of America’s access to offshore energy resources. Our nation’s energy policy took a step back today, but manufacturers are ready to take two steps forward with a fresh start in the new year.

Fortunately, this move to increase energy costs for manufacturers and families across our country can be reversed. As the innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and disruptors who are improving lives and transforming the world, manufacturers look forward to working with the next president to fix this misguided move and open opportunity for future generations. Read More

The Workforce of Tomorrow

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The incoming Trump administration has placed a high value on the need to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. With more than 12 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce, it is clear to see why. These jobs are the backbone of our economy.

However, to keep jobs in the United States, we must address the fundamental reality that there is a skills gap in manufacturing that is widening each year: the skills workers have are not always the skills that are in demand. Current projections forecast nearly 2 million jobs will remain unfilled over the next 10 years due to the skills gap. Read More

Immigration Reform to Strengthen Manufacturing and Competitiveness

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

 

As the nation moves forward under new leadership, one of the greatest challenges we continue to face is finding a way to manage and improve the broken immigration system.

From frustrations about security at the southern border to a legal immigration system that is unresponsive to employer needs, both Democrats and Republicans agree the immigration system is not functional. The system as it stands today frustrates those who come in contact with a sprawling bureaucracy and cumbersome process that appears accountable to no one.

Reform of the immigration system is not a simple exercise. Each change, even small changes in the regulatory sphere, can affect thousands of manufacturing employees and cost millions of dollars. Careful consideration must be made to address the apprehensions of many Americans, such as border security.

We need to create a workable system for lesser skilled immigrants that allows workers to be in the United States when there is demand and lets us know who is here.

Our system for higher skilled immigrants deserves reform, too. The current system is too limited and inflexible and actually sends innovation and jobs overseas. We are driving out foreign-born talent, often educated in the United States, who then compete against us instead of working with us. They are moving abroad to work, manufacture and innovate, when their talents could be put to use here to grow our economy and create new jobs.

Congress and the next administration have an obligation to holistically tackle this public policy challenge. Manufacturers believe that immigration reform must be revisited in 2017.

Immigrants, at all skill levels, come to this country because they want to work. We are a country built by immigrants and a nation where immigrants thrive more than anywhere in the world. We need not only to ensure that we are keeping threats to the Unites States out, but also bringing skills, talents and ambition that will help this country grow. As manufacturers have laid our in our “Competing to Win” immigration blueprint, we must do the following:

  • Ensure manufactures’ reliable access to talent at all skill levels.
  • Offer career opportunities to keep talent onshore.
  • Address the undocumented worker population in a practical, moral and respectful way.
  • Advance a rigorous and fair employment verification system.
  • Improve safety and security at the border in a workable way that allows for the free trade of goods.

Comprehensive reform can strengthen our economy and country. We should not turn our back on the opportunity for stability and security.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

 

For Manufacturers, Trade Must Be Open and Fair

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

A highly interconnected global economy is a fact for manufacturers big and small throughout the United States. Advances in technology and transportation over recent decades have created substantial new opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach millions of foreign consumers. That interconnection has also brought increased competition from growing manufacturing sectors around the world, in some cases fueled by market-distorting and discriminatory trade practices that put our manufacturers, workers and communities at an unfair disadvantage.

When markets are open and rules of fairness and equal opportunity are enforced for all, manufacturers in the United States can and do succeed. Consider the following:

  • More than half of the U.S. manufacturing workforce depends on exports for their jobs, and nearly half of all U.S.-manufactured goods exports are sold just to the 20 countries that have eliminated barriers through free trade agreements.
  • Employees in the “most trade-intensive industries” earn an average compensation of nearly $94,000, or more than 56 percent more than those in manufacturing companies that were less engaged in trade.

With the world’s most productive manufacturing sector in the world, but a domestic market that represents only 10 percent of global consumption and growing global competition, manufacturers in the United States need more robust trade policies and agreements to grow. To be part of the solution, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has shared with the Trump transition team our Competing to Win” agenda, which includes a blueprint for a winning trade policy.

The NAM is calling on the new administration to focus on three key elements to ensure an open and fair trading system:

  1. Strong enforcement of global trade rules to crack down on cheating.
  2. Negotiation of new bilateral and other trade agreements to expand market access, raise standards, ensure fairness and equal opportunity and eliminate foreign market-distorting practices.
  3. Adoption of customs, financing, export control and other policies to make manufacturers in the United States more globally competitive.

Manufacturers are committed to working domestically and internationally to tap growth beyond our borders and eliminate foreign trade abuses to continue to expand a highly productive and innovative U.S. manufacturing sector that can continue to sustain and increase good-paying American jobs.

 

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition” series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

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Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Output in December Grew at Strongest Rate Since March 2015

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI edged up from 54.1 in November to 54.2 in December, a 21-month high. This mostly mirrored assessments about new orders growth (up from 55.5 to 55.6), which also expanded at the fastest pace over that time frame. Other indicators were mixed but encouraging. Employment expanded at its highest rate in 18 months (up from 52.4 to 54.1), whereas output grew modestly but pulled back a little in December (down from 56.0 to 55.1). On a more disappointing note, exports slowed to a near crawl but were positive for the sixth time in the past seven months (down from 51.0 to 50.3). Softer international demand, however, should not be surprising given the strong U.S. dollar. Overall, this report provides some encouragement for manufacturers, many of whom have been rather cautious in their economic outlook for much of the past two years.

Meanwhile, it was a similar story at year’s end in Europe. The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI increased from 53.7 in November to 54.9 in December, a level not seen since April 2011. As such, the continent’s economy continues to move in the right direction, with activity accelerating at a decent rate. The headline PMI has trended higher since bottoming out at 51.2 in February. The underlying data were higher across the board in December, including new orders (up from 54.4 to 56.1), output (up from 54.1 to 56.1), exports (up from 54.1 to 54.7) and hiring (up from 53.4 to 53.7). In addition, manufacturers in France (up from 51.7 to 53.5) and Germany (up from 54.8 to 56.8) were also more upbeat. In particular, French manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace in 67 months, an impressive accomplishment given that the data were in contraction territory as recently as September.

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Home Builder Confidence in December at Highest Level Since July 2005

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo reported that the Housing Market Index (HMI) rose strongly, up from 63 in November to 70 in December. It was the highest level of confidence since July 2005, reflecting strong optimism among homebuilders in their economic outlook after the election. Index values greater than 50 indicate builders are more confident in their outlook than not, with numbers greater than 60 suggesting strong expectations for activity. Respondents were more upbeat in every region.

Builders continue to report healthy assessments about single-family home sales over the next six months. The index for expected sales jumped from 69 in November to 78 in December. Still, NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz cautioned that “builders remain sensitive to rising mortgage rates and continue to deal with shortages of lots and labor.”

Competing to Win: How to Accelerate Manufacturing Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Autonomous vehicles. Smart phones. Lifesaving medicines. All are made possible by the innovation of manufacturers. Technology is transforming the manufacturing industry, and the manufacturing industry is transforming our world.

Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector, changing our society and helping Americans live better lives. But our continued progress is not guaranteed. We need our leaders to embrace policies that encourage innovation—not stand in its way—because a country that can’t invent can’t lead.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has laid manufacturers’ technology policy priorities in a new blueprint, as part of our “Competing to Win” agenda:

  • Enable a regulatory and legislative climate that creates the conditions for discovering the next great life-changing inventions.
  • Secure those inventions by protecting the intellectual property rights of manufacturers.
  • Partner with the industry in the area of cybersecurity but not through the creation of a new and unnecessary regulatory regime.
  • Encourage the growth of connected technology when they consider updating our telecommunications laws.

The technologies embraced by manufacturers in the 21st century are improving business models, transforming customer relationships and re-inventing the world. Policymakers in Washington now must decide whether they will accelerate, or stand in the way, of a new economy that innovates and works better for everyone.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

National Association of Manufacturers Sponsors Bipartisan “Build to Win” Event in Ohio

By | Energy, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its affiliate, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, partnered with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber on Tuesday to host a panel discussion on infrastructure development and investment.

Expanding infrastructure is “great for the economy, great for the workers, middle-class jobs that are secure with benefits and pensions and good retirements, so it’s all good,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) told WKBN News during the “Fueling America’s Future: Accelerating Energy and Transportation Infrastructure” event.

The bipartisan discussion included Rep. Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio’s 13th District, and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), a Republican who represents Ohio’s 6th District. They were joined by Rocco DiGennaro Jr., president of the Western Reserve Building Trades; David Ledonne, vice president for operations in the Utica Shale and Appalachia for MarkWest/MPLX; and moderator Ryan Augsburger, managing director of public policy for the Ohio Manufacturblogpic1ers’ Association.

“We know based on what we hear from our members that the support for transportation and energy infrastructure comes from all corners of the state,” Augsburger said in kicking off the event for about 100 members of the business and civic community who attended. “It crosses party lines, as you’ll see here today with the congressmen, and it transcends just about every demographic group you can imagine.”

The panel members answered questions from the audience about critical pieces of infrastructure, such as pipelines, roads, bridges, power plants and how investment in them can help bring manufacturing back to Ohio. The speakers conveyed a sense of optimism over plans for development.

DiGennaro explained how 500 of his union members would be working on a natural gasfired power plant next year and how eager his members are to work on ethane cracker plants as well. Ledonne provided the audience with an overview of how oil and gas development leads to expanded manufacturing as he provided an update on the significant investment Markwest/MPLX has made in the state.

The panelists drove home the point of how critical it is to invest in energy and transportation infrastructure. Rep. Ryan summed up the discussion best during a question-and-answer session:

Read More

For the First Time in 2016, the Federal Reserve Raised Short-Term Rates; Three Increases Seen in 2017

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) opted to raise short-term rates for the first time so far in 2016 at the conclusion of its December 13–14 meeting. The target of the federal funds rate was increased by 25 basis points, with the range now between 0.50 to 0.75 percent. This move was widely expected, with financial markets having already pricing in this move. Moving into 2017, FOMC participants appear to be more hawkish than they were three months ago, with economic projections appearing to forecast three rate hikes next year. That is up from a median prediction of two rate hikes at their September meeting. Beyond next year, Federal Reserve participants also see three increases in both 2018 and 2019.

To be fair, the Federal Reserve is playing catch-up a little here, with the bond market already sending yields significantly higher since the election. Indeed, yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have already risen more than 60 basis points since early November. Read More