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SOM Tour 2016: New Hampshire Is a Hotbed of Innovative Manufacturing

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A State of Manufacturing Tour guest blog post by Jim Roche, president of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide Chamber of Commerce 

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in New Hampshire—and with good reason! New Hampshire is a hotbed of innovative manufacturing and home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary less than two weeks from now.

Here at the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, the NAM’s official affiliate in the Granite State, we fight every day for policies that support our manufacturers—our state’s most important job creators. We push state legislators, the governor, our congressional delegation and regulators for public policy and commonsense solutions that are friendly to job creators and promote prosperity for New Hampshire businesses.

At today’s stop, the NAM laid out several key public policies that will help put manufacturing in America on solid ground, including important ideas likjim rochee fixing our outdated tax code and upgrading old infrastructure to take us toward a more modern economy.

Today’s tour also highlighted the many ways manufacturers are changing our lives for the better. Manufacturing has grown well beyond the outdated images of mill and textile work, particularly in New England. Today, manufacturing leads in electronics, fabricated metals, machinery and technology. And manufacturing is connecting people across continents. The sector offers outstanding jobs and careers for nearly 68,000 New Hampshire workers. New Hampshire’s manufacturers export almost $4 billion of goods around the world every year, bringing new wealth and economic activity into our state’s economy.

As we move deeper into this important election season, manufacturing voters are asking candidates hard questions about how they will help America compete to win in a global economy. No matter the outcome of the election, we need policies that support today’s diverse and dynamic manufacturers. When manufacturing succeeds, we’re all better off.

 

NAM Member Company Hosts President, Advocates Manufacturing

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To unveil the nation’s latest manufacturing innovation hub in Clinton, Tennessee, President Obama and Vice President Biden selected a manufacturer as renowned for its products as it is for the cutting-edge technology that powers its shop floor. Techmer PM, a longtime member of the NAM, provided not only a setting for President Obama’s speech but also a first-hand view of manufacturing in the United States.

“At the end of the speech, the president closed his prepared notes, and he spoke extemporaneously and mentioned me by name,” Techmer PM President and CEO John Manuck tells Shopfloor. “When I toured him and the vice president around, he asked me about how I had started the company. He went on to quote that I had graduated as an engineer out of college, went to work for a large company and then just decided I could do it better myself. And then he said, ‘And that story of entrepreneurship and taking a chance, that’s what built this country.’”

Such drive and innovation distinguish manufacturing from other sectors—and sets manufacturers like Techmer PM apart. Techmer PM collaborates with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy facility that recommended the company to the Obama Administration, on projects such as full-sized, 3-D printed cars.

These types of projects would not be possible without Manuck’s vision of what manufacturing could be with a motivated workforce and continuous investment. Manuck founded Techmer PM with just six employees and one small manufacturing facility in 1981. Thanks in large part to his commitment to building a workplace where employees feel challenged, secure and proud of being a member of the team, the company has since grown to more than 600 employees at seven facilities across the country.

Even greater potential exists for manufacturing if Washington supports the right policies, as outlined by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons during this year’s State of Manufacturing Tour. Manuck pointed toward comprehensive tax reform that includes Techmer PM and the nearly two-thirds of manufacturers organized as subchapter S corporations that pay taxes at the individual rate and policies that support and expand global trade, such as Trade Promotion Authority and new trade agreements to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders. Manufacturers also need policymakers to take a hard look at the more than $2 trillion in complex, inconsistent and duplicative federal regulations that hinder manufacturers in the United States.

Manuck hopes that by observing manufacturing in action, President Obama will take note of the policies that strengthen our more than $2 trillion sector—the policies that the NAM advocates each and every day. “We need to keep pushing these issues,” Manuck says.

One-Hundred and Twenty Years of the National Association of Manufacturers

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Today, the NAM turns 120. One- hundred and twenty years of advocating for manufacturers, one-hundred and twenty years of growth and innovation in manufacturing, and one-hundred and twenty years of supporting hardworking Americans. To see where the NAM has come in one-hundred and twenty years, let’s take a look back to the past.

The year was 1895 and the place was Cincinnati, Ohio. In the middle of a deep recession, manufacturers saw a strong need to export production to new markets in other countries. The newly founded National Association of Manufacturers began calls for the creation of the U.S. Department of Commerce and helped launch the National Council of Commerce, which later became the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Read More

NAM Supports Passage of H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act

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Today, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate expresses support for H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. The letter, from NAM Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse, outlines a number of measures in the legislation that are priorities for the manufacturing sector and will help the economy continue to rebound. Read More

Remembering David Olson

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David Olson, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

David Olson, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Manufacturers lost a great leader. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson will be missed greatly by manufacturers, his fellow NAM Board Members and many more across the country.

David left us after a life not long enough, but long enough for joy and love and laughter and good times – and long enough to leave a lasting footprint on the business community, his state and his country.

He inspired all of us and will be remembered by the countless individuals whose lives he made better. David always had colorful stories to tell, laughs to laugh, words to write, legislators to buttonhole, lobbies to walk and battles to fight. He passionately led the business community in Minnesota for decades with great optimism and strong faith. As a champion for economic growth, he provided pragmatic solutions that transcended party politics.

What most of us remember best is not specifically what David did or said, but how he did it – as a unique, wonderful, patriotic and highly intelligent human being. He connected with each of us in some unusual way to get a job done. Through his words and actions, he made us proud and proud to know him.

He was the epitome of hardworking Minnesotan values and a leader among his peers. I was fortunate enough to count him as my friend.

In an industry that seems to grow more homogenized every day, David had very much his own voice. His lifetime of dedication serves as a monument to the exemplary man he was.  His integrity and hard work will encourage those who knew him and will continue to benefit those who make Minnesota their home for years to come.  Among the best things David has left behind is his shining example.

Manufacturers Will Not Give Up on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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The House won’t vote on comprehensive immigration reform this year—that’s the recent word from Speaker Boehner. Manufacturers are disappointed. With each day that passes, Congress misses an opportunity to take an important step forward for our economy and country.

Immigration reform is a priority for manufacturers. With some 80 percent of employers reporting a shortage of skilled workers, reform can provide a bridge so employers can begin to close the skills gap as we simultaneously undertake efforts to improve education and training efforts. And, in addition to the practical considerations, immigration reform is simply the right thing to do.

Of course, while manufacturers are frustrated by the inaction on reform, we’re not giving up. It’s not a matter of if immigration reform will happen; it’s a matter of when. Our country is better than our current, broken immigration system. That’s why manufacturers are committed to advancing immigration reform done right—a comprehensive solution that includes a pathway to citizenship and ensure that those who seek it aren’t denied the American Dream.

NAM Backs Boeing after Misguided Decision by NLRB Judge

By | Briefly Legal, Labor Unions, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal | No Comments

Individual cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rarely get noticed by anyone other than labor or employment lawyers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching. These decisions have broad implications for all employers, not just the one involved directly in the case.

Recently, an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a decision that, if allowed to stand, would have significant implications for manufacturers and their intellectual property. The judge concluded that Boeing’s prohibition of cameras—a policy that has been in place for 35 years—constitutes an unfair labor practice because Boeing has no credible business need to protect its manufacturing process. Of course, as technology has developed, the rule has captured additional devices, and today smartphones fall under the ban.

Boeing has good reason to be cautious about allowing unfettered photographic access to its shop floor. For one, its competitors and some foreign governments would love to get their hands on Boeing’s proprietary information. The ALJ would make that easy for corporate spies—just go to an employee’s Facebook page and study photos from inside Boeing. In addition, many of Boeing’s products are subject to strict export controls. Making photos of these products or processes public could violate federal law.

The NLRB’s decision puts Boeing in a tough spot, creating a problem where none existed. And, besides, NLRB lawyers shouldn’t be in the business of creating new rights for employees in the first place.

Because of the dangerous precedent this case could set for future disputes before the NLRB, the NAM filed a brief highlighting this overreach and the impact it would have on businesses, particularly manufacturers. For more information about the case, click here.

Patrick Forrest is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at the NAM. He also serves as part of the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts. To read more about the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, please click here.

AT&T Chief Talks Growth in Washington

By | America's Business, Economy, Immigration, Taxation | No Comments

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.

Personal Spending Slowed in September even as Income Growth was Strong

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending growth weakened somewhat in September, even as personal incomes grew. Consumers purchased 0.2 percent more in September, down from the 0.3 percent rate of August. On a year-over-year basis, the pace of personal spending growth has decelerated from 3.3 percent in June to 2.7 percent in September, suggesting some degree of hesitance on the part of Americans to increase their overall spending.

This was particularly true for durable goods products, which spending in this category essentially flat in the third quarter, according to this data. For the month, spending on durable goods was down 1.3 percent in September, rebounding from a 1.4 percent increase in August. In contrast, nondurable goods spending in the third quarter was up 1.3 percent, with a 0.6 percent gain in September.

Meanwhile, personal income growth remained strong, up 0.5 percent in both August and September. Over the course of the past 12 months, incomes have risen 3.7 percent, but in the third quarter, the annual pace accelerated to 4.45 percent, a sign of renewed strength.

Manufacturing sector wages and salaries edged higher for the month, up from $754.3 billion to $754.6 billion. This figure has grown slow-but-steady, reflecting upward movement from averages of $707.1 billion and $735.4 billion in 2011 and 2012, respectively.  Total wages and salaries were up 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent over the past two months.

With growth in personal income outstripping personal spending in each of the past three months, the savings rate has moved higher. It has grown from 4.4 percent in June to 4.9 percent in September. This was the highest savings rate of 2013 so far, approaching the average of 5.3 percent for January to November of 2012. (I omitted December due to accelerated payouts skewing the data in the lead-up to the fiscal cliff deal.)

These data also show that inflationary pressures remain modest. Similar to the recent consumer price index report, price gains for consumer items have risen in an acceptable range. Year-over-year growth in prices for core personal consumption expenditures was 1.2 percent in September, the same as in August and roughly unchanged for the past six months. This keeps prices below the 2 percent growth threshold established by the Federal Reserve Board, with minimal inflationary pressures for now.

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