Lost in most of the policy discussions about greenhouse gases (GHG) in Washington, is the fact that the U.S. manufacturers are already leading the world in reducing emissions. Through manufacturing ingenuity and a commitment to environmental stewardship, manufacturers have reduced their annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 10 percent from 2005 levels. Manufacturers have also been integral in helping lower the United States’ total annual carbon emissions by nearly 700 million tons over the same time period–more than any other country in the world. (continue reading…)
Comprehensive immigration reform and STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) are critical to manufacturers – to address a skills gap that has left 600,000 jobs vacant and to build a 21st century workforce that manufacturers in the U.S. need to compete and succeed in the global economy.
Caterpillar is doing its part in spreading that message, sending its Chief Technology Officer, Gwenne Henricks, to Capitol Hill today to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Ms. Henricks told the committee that our education system simply isn’t producing the necessary pipeline of STEM graduates manufacturers need to meet workforce needs – and a solution through immigration reform is badly needed.
“At Caterpillar, we know our people are our greatest asset. We employ more than 10,000 engineers, technologists and scientists worldwide who are dedicated to developing technologies that reshape the process of using, managing and owning heavy equipment. Last year, we filed for nearly 1,100 patents and spent approximately $2.4 billion on research and development. We need a solution that will address these issues and help us grow a sustainable pipeline of highly skilled workers to meet our growing needs while preserving the environment for future generations through innovation and collaboration,” said Henricks.
Getting comprehensive immigration reform enacted into law won’t be easy – if it was, it would already be done. The way we’re going to get the ball across the goal line here is by making sure that policymakers truly understand how essential reform is to the health of manufacturing and our economy as a whole. Big kudos to Caterpillar for taking such a leadership role in getting that message out there.
Caterpillar C.E.O. Doug Oberhelman appeared on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” to talk about how to best advance manufacturing in the U.S.
On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union address during which he focused on the importance of manufacturing, it is powerful to hear directly from a manufacturer who strives every day to compete in the global marketplace.
At the conclusion of his appearance with Cavuto, Oberhelman summarized on what is needed for a true manufacturing renaissance:
“We need stimulus around manufacturing, we need tax reform, and we need education reform, and we can go on and on and on. As Vice Chair of the National Association of Manufacturers, there is a really refined list of what we need to do if we want to be competitive in this country. It is a prescription that is not that hard to follow and is pretty common sense, actually.”
Once-ailing manufacturers are enjoying a robust rebound as cost-saving moves from job cuts to a greater reliance on technology help drive stronger-than-forecast growth. The shift has helped set the stage for a potential “manufacturing renaissance,” says James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Minneapolis-based Wells Capital Management. He predicts the industry will set the pace for U.S. expansion and the American stock market during this decade, as technology did in the 1990s.
“Manufacturing is leading the whole economy,” said Paulsen, whose firm oversees about $340 billion. U.S. manufacturers “had to find religion. They’ve really cleaned up their balance sheets. What is left is the cream of the crop.”
Companies mentioned include Timken, the Canton, Ohio-based maker of roller bearings and steels; Materials Processing, Inc., the Logansport, Indiana-based metals-processing company; Siemens Corp., a subsidiary of the Munich-based Siemens AG; Boeing; Deere & Co.; Cooper Industries Plc, Deere & Co. and Kennametal Inc.
The story builds on recent data and reinforces what many National Association of Manufacturers member companies — other than the ones mentioned above — have been reporting. Economists are seeing the same thing; last Friday, The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog rounded up the reaction of top economists, including Sung Won Sohn of the Smith School of Business and Economics. He said: (continue reading…)
Panama is already a great market for U.S. manufacturers and exports, and the expansion of the Panama Canal, the huge subway project in Panama City, and the development of the world’s fifth largest copper mine represent even more opportunity, the CEO of Caterpillar testified Wednesday.
Taking advantage will require President Obama to submit the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement to Congress for its enactment.
Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar’s CEO and vice chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers, testified Wednesday at a House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on the benefits of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement. (Prepared statement)
Manufactured goods and agriculture consistently report trade surpluses, Oberhelman reminded the committee. (See graphic below.) The growth of U.S. exports has been especially strong in the Latin American countries with which the United States has free trade agreements. Lowering Panama’s tariffs against U.S. goods would help expand market share for American companies. Oberhelman:
U.S. export success in Panama comes despite a fundamental imbalance in the proverbial playing field. The United States unilaterally opened its market to Panama and its neighbors through the Caribbean Basin Initiative in 1983 and expanded that access through successive acts with the support of strong bipartisan majorities in Congress. Currently, under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), fully 96% of all imports from Panama already enter the U.S. market duty-free. By contrast, Panama’s average applied duty on imports of manufactured goods is 7.1%, and agricultural products face even higher tariffs. In other words, Panama enjoys virtually free access to our marketplace, while U.S. products continue to be taxed at steep rates when entering Panama. (continue reading…)
Wall Street Journal, James Hagerty, “U.S. Factories Buck Decline,” with the sub-headline, “Sector Creating More Jobs Than It’s Cutting; ‘Shining Star’”:
U.S. manufacturing, viewed as a lost cause by many Americans, has begun creating more jobs than it eliminates for the first time in more than a decade.
As the economy recovered and big companies began upgrading old factories or building new ones, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. last year grew 1.2%, or 136,000, the first increase since 1997, government data show. That total will grow again this year, according to economists at IHS Global Insight and Moody’s Analytics.
Companies cited: Ford Motor Co., Whirlpool Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Dow Chemical Company.
Journal editors also interview Hagerty on the story, “Video: Manufacturing in the U.S. Makes a Comeback as More Jobs Are Created than Lost – News Hub.”
The first week of 2011 is a busy and ceremonial one in Washington. President Obama returns from his Hawaii vacation to the White House on Tuesday afternoon. The U.S. Senate and House convene at noon Wednesday for the opening of the 112th Congress.
In the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) will be elected Speaker of the House on Wednesday. On Thursday, the House floor session features a reading of the U.S. Constitution. Speculation builds about a House vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care law, and extension of the debt ceiling.
In the Senate, the session begins Wednesday with a presentation of the certificates of election and the swearing in of elected members. Morning business follows.
With the arrival of 2011, the National Association of Manufacturers now has a new chairman of the board of directors, Mary Andringa, president and CEO of the Iowa-based Vermeer. She began her two-year term as chairman on Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding Mike Campbell. Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar, is the NAM’s new vice chairman.
Executive Branch: The White House and Executive Branch agencies have yet to release public schedules for the week, so we dig for this: The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future on Thursday tours the Savannah River site for storage of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, and on Friday the Commission holds a public hearing in Augusta, Ga. (Details and news coverage.)
Economic Reports: The Institute for Supply Management today releases its manufacturing report. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on factory orders in November. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announces the employment situation and unemployment rate for December. For more, see The Los Angeles Times, “Slew of economic data due could sway Wall Street.” You know, you can write that same headline nearly every week.
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starts Thursday in Las Vegas, with manufacturers front and center. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivers the pre-show keynote address Wednesday. Other speakers during the week: Verizon’s CEO, Ivan Seidenberg; Robert Stadler, chairman of the board of Audi AG; Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung; Cisco CEO John Chambers; GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt: Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns; and Alan Mullaly, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company.
Congratulations to the new governors already sworn into office: Andrew Cuomo of New York, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Rick Snyder of Michigan. Snyder enjoyed an auspicious beginning: The Detroit Lions beat the Vikings. Today, Governor Jerry Brown retakes office in California, and Brian Sandoval is sworn in as governor of Nevada. In all, there will be 29 new governors in 2011.
From President Obama’s remarks at Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem, N.C., on Monday:
[A] national leader in bioscience and innovation, North Carolina is now the country’s third largest employer in biotechnology. (Applause.) And when Caterpillar recently decided to build a plant in this community, they told President Green one of the main reasons was “…they were convinced that Forsyth Tech had the capability of providing them with the technical workforce that they need.” (Applause.)
That’s something everybody in this room should be very proud of. And I know that business leaders from throughout the community have worked intensively with President Green and others to help make this happen. And I know that your congressional delegation, as well as your governor, have worked hard to make this happen.
Now, none of this progress happened by itself. It happened thanks to the hard work of students here at Forsyth, the commitment of local leaders, foresight of local business leaders — most importantly, it happened because there was a decision made to invest in the collective future of this community. It happened because there was a decision to invest in this college, and there were loans and scholarships that made it affordable to go here.
WFMY-2 TV, July 29, 2010, “Caterpillar Chooses Winston-Salem For New Plant”
Winston-Salem, NC– Caterpillar has decided it will put its new plant in Winston-Salem.
Thursday afternoon WFMY News 2 spoke with Forsyth County Commissioner Beaufort Bailey who confirmed that it is indeed Caterpillar.
When asked why Caterpillar chose Winston-Salem, Bailey said he thinks Forsyth Technical Community College was the deal sealer. Bailey said with South Carolina and Alabama offering similar incentive packages that Winston-Salem and Forsyth County offered, he really thinks that the company saw Forsyth Tech as a the difference. He said Forsyth Tech will be able to turn out workers quickly and the schools offers a large menu of programs.
Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman was in the news Thursday thanks to an excellent third quarter financial report, which announced a quarterly profit of $792 million, 96 percent higher than the same three-month period in 2009.
Neil Cavuto interviewed Oberhelman on Fox News (video here), asking important questions about China, competitiveness, and the political climate. Oberhelman observed that Caterpillar was a net exporter to China.
We’ve hired year to date, 15,000 people worldwide. About 45 percent, almost half of those are here in America, good manufacturing jobs, good office jobs. It’s great to do it. I’m happy to do it. I love those kind of announcements.
For some reason in this country, the debate has changed from hiring in America to, if …any American company hires one person outside the United States, it’s a bad thing.
In fact, when we hire people in Belgium, or in China, Australia, wherever it is, likely there’s somebody back here in America supporting that job in some form or fashion. Those are markets we have to penetrate. Our competition will get them if we don’t. Then what we do we do with our workers, when we say, we don’t have an export, thus we don’t have a job, then what do we do? We have to learn to deal with this.
And on tax policy, Oberhelman said:
What I worry about is gridlock going into January 1 and tax rates going up for all of us. The last thing we need is a huge tax increase on this economy in this country. I have never seen a recession – and we’ve studied them all the way back – where you tax yourself out of recession. And if that happens, our risk of going big-time slow down next year is much greater…
Oberhelman was elected vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers at the NAM’s board meeting earlier this month. He takes office for a two-year term in January.
Jim Owens, chairman and former CEO of Caterpillar, touched on several important topics for manufacturers, U.S. workers, and economic growth in his remarks Monday at the meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Owens’ remarks about exports and job creation are particularly timely given The Wall Street Journal’s recent prominent report, “Americans Sour on Trade.” Americans aren’t souring on the jobs, are they?
On exports and jobs:
I told you earlier in the year I thought our exports this year would be up about 65 percent, and I raised that estimate a bit. It’s maybe going to be considerably better than that. We’re seeing a very sharp V recovery in most of the developing-market theater of the world economy to where global mining, global oil and gas industries are back at all-time record levels. We have hired — and mostly driven by exports — about 4,000 people directly in the U.S. already this year and we’ll be adding to that over the next few months as our schedules are continuing to ramp up. And our suppliers have probably added on the order of four times that number. And most of those are small and midsize companies.
On training and community colleges:
We, in fact, with our dealers have a partnership with about 12 of them that have a great curriculum to develop skilled service mechanics to do field service work. And these skills are transferable to other industries…Now we have four new plants being built in the United States and every one of those cities has community colleges partnering with us on the training that we need for the people coming into those facilities. So I couldn’t be more positive about this program.
I want to come back to infrastructure. I know it sounds self-serving, since we work with that industry, but we’ve got, in the skill trades and building construction in general, because of this very sharp downturn in housing, the unemployment rates are over 20 percent.
So there are a lot of skilled people ready to go to work that don’t have an opportunity. There’s clearly a lack of demand in this area. And I think we have a deficit in terms of investment in this country in the infrastructure we need to help us compete in the world market in the future.