Tags: Manufacturing | Obama | Jobs | Economy

America Must Regain World Leadership in Manufacturing and Exports

America Must Regain World Leadership in Manufacturing and Exports

By    |   Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:37 AM

If you didn’t know better, based on media coverage, you would think that our entire economy is based on the fast food industry.  Every day they are in the news, struggling to contend with minimum wage and union pressures. 

Fast food has become a force to reckon with, but while the debate rages about low wages, no one is talking about manufacturing — the industry that grew America. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the manufacturing sector employed 12 million workers in 2013, or about 8.8 percent of total U.S. employment. Manufacturing employs a higher share of workers without a college degree than the economy overall. On average, non-college-educated workers in manufacturing made 10.9 percent more than similar workers in the rest of the economy in 2012–2013.

So this begs the question:  why are workers drawn to fast food and its low wages, when higher paying manufacturing jobs are available?  And these are jobs where a basic education is not a detriment to employment? 

Manufacturing plays a particularly important role in supporting jobs in a core group of states in the Midwest and South.
The top 10 states ranked by manufacturing’s’ share of total state employment in 2013 are:
  • Indiana (16.8 percent, 491,900 jobs),
  • Wisconsin (16.3 percent, 458,400 jobs),
  • Iowa (14.0 percent, 214,500 jobs),
  • Michigan (13.5 percent, 555,300 jobs),
  • Alabama (13.1 percent, 249,100 jobs),
  • Arkansas (12.9 percent, 152,400 jobs),
  • Ohio (12.6 percent, 662,100 jobs),
  • Kentucky (12.4 percent, 228,600 jobs),
  • Mississippi (12.3 percent, 136,700 jobs),
  • and Kansas (11.9 percent, 162,900 jobs).

You would think that based on this degree of job creation, manufacturing would get more love.  But the opposite is the case.

Manufacturers are being hit with job killing regulations by the EPA, soaring healthcare costs under Obamacare, the highest corporate taxes in the world, an administration that is pushing and supporting unionization, and a general lack of respect by a work force that would benefit from manufacturing.

Truth be told, American manufacturing has seen its better days.  The Institute for Supply Management indicates that the U.S. manufacturing sector has been expanding at its lowest pace over the past two years. The culprits include a strong dollar and a weak global economy, which is diminishing exports.

The Wall Street Journal noted that overall manufacturing activity has expanded for 34 straight months but the pace of growth has significantly lowered recently.

The Institute’s gauge of manufacturing activity hit just above 50, which is slightly above the dividing line between expansion (50+) and shrinkage.

The good news is that factories are seeing new orders come in at a faster pace.  And some U.S. economists are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation reported that since the economic recovery started in 2009, the U.S. manufacturing sector generally maintained a 12% share of GDP over the five years ending in 2013. The sector’s performance was impressive when compared with other major advanced countries that experienced similar declines and early recoveries in manufacturing production but quickly lost their growth momentum after 2011.

So with all this momentum, why treat manufacturing as yesterday’s news?  Industrial employment has surged over the past five years, according to Forbes, with the sector adding some 855,000 new jobs, a 7.5 percent expansion.

Rising wages in China and the U.S. energy boom have helped fuel manufacturing growth and job creation.

If America is to restore itself as an economic dynamo, we must commit to manufacturing. Not only to create more good paying jobs, but to restore our prestige as the world leader in innovation and superior product creation. 

Let’s hope our next president understands what it takes for America to regain its world leadership in manufacturing and exports.

The past six years has been very difficult with an administration adrift, caught in a 1950’s time warp of unionization and big machine politics. As a result we have turned our backs on the comfort and security of good paying jobs and exchanged them for a future of discontent and misery.

It does not have to be this way. America is home to some of the most prolific manufacturing job creators this world has ever known. The problem is that they no longer conduct business here because they no longer believe the U.S. is accommodating to their businesses. So they moved away, creating jobs elsewhere.

We must demonstrate clearly that we want them back, along with their jobs.

I was one of them. I came back home to create manufacturing jobs here. It is time to turn this trickle into a flood. The impact on our economy would be historic. Everyone that wanted a job, would have one.

The election in 2016 will set the stage for years to come. For the sake of millions who want a chance to succeed, we cannot afford to continue the failed economic policies of the Obama administration.

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The election in 2016 will set the stage for years to come. For the sake of millions who want a chance to succeed, we cannot afford to continue the failed economic policies of the Obama Administration.
Manufacturing, Obama, Jobs, Economy
Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:37 AM
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