The White House has already identified competitiveness and jobs as major themes in President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, and manufacturers believe those are exactly the right issues to put front and center before the American people. Now we are waiting for the details, including specific policy proposals and actions.
Manufacturers are proud to be leading the way in the economic recovery. Last year, manufacturing reported its first gain in U.S. employment since 1997: The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States in 2010 grew by 1.2 percent, or 136,000. Economists expect the trend to continue over the next few years, demonstrating that manufacturing means jobs.
We want to do more to create jobs – much more – and there’s still a long way to go. Unemployment has been stuck above 9 percent since June 2009, and hiring traditionally lags behind economic growth.
The National Association of Manufacturers has laid out a clear strategy to achieve the goals for a dynamic, growing and competitive U.S. economy: our “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.”
The stage is well set, and manufacturers are waiting with anticipation for the State of the Union. We might very well disagree with some details in any substantive proposal that President Obama makes tonight, but we understand that a proposal is just the first step toward final action. And our goal is simple – let us create jobs.
Manufacturers want America to be more competitive, and we want economic growth to lead to more jobs. In that, we agree with both President Obama and Congress.
Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.