Recently I ran across the latest report by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the state of manufacturing in the United States. You can get your own copy of Manufacturing Resurgence – A Must for U.S. Prosperity.

Not surprisingly (given that funding for the report came from a manufacturing lobbying organization) the report finds that manufacturing fuels economic prosperity, that manufacturing in the U.S. is struggling in recession, and that the industry needs pro-growth policies to create jobs and remain competitive globally.

The report points out that the large trade deficit in manufactured goods and services exports are inadequate to pay for all U.S. imports. Supported with a dizzying recitation of statistics, the report details how U.S. indebtedness to foreign countries, particularly China, continues to rise.

The authors draw some comfort from the recent resurgence in exports due to a decline in the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies. “The responsiveness of exports overall to a fall in the value of the dollar is hopeful; it suggests that narrowing the U.S. competitive disadvantage can help restore the health of the industrial sector.”

A couple of specifics in the report caught my eye.

In the discussion on R&D investment, did you know that 19% of all R&D came from firms with 5 to 499 employees? Or that 85% of this was self-funded? This is an impressive statistic. “Small firm patents tend to outperform large firm patents using measures such as close link to research, originality and generality.”

The report also addresses energy use and global climate change. It calls for quick decisions about national policies on carbon emissions, arguing that a state-by-state patch-work of regulations makes compliance much more difficult. It also points out that “Using energy more efficiently will require innovation within the manufacturing process itself, but will also provide a market for manufactured products that will help reduce energy use for others.”

The report concludes with about a dozen policy recommendations that would support a resurgence in manufacturing in this country. Here are the highlights:

  • Reduce the burden on corporate income derived from production and sale of U.S. made products.
  • Invest in research and encourage business investment in R&D.
  • Make the policy commitments to develop cleaner, more efficient, more sustainable fuel technologies
  • Continue to improve our own education quality and accessibility to enhance our home grown pool of science and technology graduates and help in assuring foreign-born graduates that they have opportunities in the U.S. as well.
  • Government at all appropriate levels should make infrastructure investment in transportation, communication channels and the energy grid.
  • Reconsider the scope and definition of manufacturing used by government statistical agencies.
  • Support the health of the manufacturing supply-chain.
  • Establish tax (and other) policies that encourage the vibrancy of U.S. small businesses.
  • Stabilize the financial markets and work toward developing a fully functioning financial sector.
  • Facilitate a more strategic process for legal immigration.
  • Follow a system of fairly-conducted trade that supports the expansion of U.S. manufactured exports using the international trading systems rules for governing a level playing field.

I encourage you to take a look at the full report. What do you think – would these programs help your business? Use the ShareThis button below to mark this page, leave a comment, schedule a conversation, or call 800-958-2709.