Timmons: Manufacturing as Resilient and Robust as Ever

NAM Leader Delivers 2015 State of Manufacturing Address


Washington, D.C., February 3, 2015 – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2015 State of Manufacturing Address before students, faculty and local manufacturing leaders at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., today. Below are key excerpts from the address. To read the entire address, click here.

“Today, the state of manufacturing is as resilient and robust as ever—and that’s why, once again, America is rising. You see, America’s success depends on manufacturing’s success. That’s because manufacturing is everything.

Manufacturing in the United States has succeeded because our industry and our solutions are grounded on four fundamental values—values that also happen to be the foundational and unifying principles of the exceptional country we love.

The first of these is free enterprise: market forces that drive innovation and growth better than any other system ever conceived.

The second is competitiveness: our ability to invest and expand markets and succeed in the global economy.

The third is individual liberty: the creativity and entrepreneurship unleashed by protecting, defending and advancing the basic freedoms enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And the fourth is equal opportunity: our shared belief that every one of us, if given the chance, has the potential to prove we can contribute to the success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

On Trade

“Free and fair trade, including Trade Promotion Authority, would give us greater access to the foreign markets we need. A long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank is a necessary step, as well.

The rest of the world is busy negotiating free trade agreements. Meanwhile, we’re watching from the sidelines. Think about this: every year we sell so much more in manufactured goods to free-trade partner countries than we buy from them—$60 billion more. But for countries with which we don’t have free trade agreements, we’re running a trade deficit exceeding $500 billion. What does that tell you?”

On Taxes

“America leads the world in a lot of ways—ways we’re all proud of. But the highest corporate tax rate on Earth? That’s not a distinction to brag about. It’s a problem to fix. Every business leader in the world wants access to our market. But every one of them also has to ask: what is the cost of doing business in America? Our outdated tax code is turning too many of them away and driving investors out of our country.

Corporate tax reform won’t do the job alone. We also need to fix the way our tax code treats the many—two-thirds of—manufacturers who are taxed at an individual tax rate. So if you raise individual tax rates, you are raising taxes on the majority of all manufacturers. And the President’s proposed punitive tax increases on investments and small businesses would stifle economic growth. And, students, here’s something else. You’re getting a world-class education at Purdue, but it won’t matter if taxing and spending in Washington limit your opportunities. The President’s budget plan will shut the doors you want to walk through.”

On Energy

“Now, let’s take a look at energy, because the time is right—energy that fuels our success as manufacturers and as a country. This is a tremendous moment of great opportunity. America has an unprecedented and incredible global advantage in reliable and affordable energy, and it’s driving manufacturing’s resurgence.

If we’re going to keep building on our strength, and creating jobs with the potential that energy exports represent, an “all-of-the-above” energy approach that taps every resource we’re blessed with here at home is the only realistic choice. We can make the United States energy secure and North America energy independent. Manufacturers use one-third of the energy produced in America, so this is one of those problems we have a strong interest in solving. And shale gas is just one example of an opportunity we shouldn’t miss. If we use this resource right, we can create a million new American jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.”

On Regulations

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our workers and consumers. No question about it. But to the extent that we need regulations, they need to be fair and transparent—not controlled by special interest groups. Today’s system is unnecessarily complex and inefficient. It costs small manufacturers nearly $35,000 per employee per year. And, as you know, every dollar that goes to compliance is one that doesn’t go into a worker’s paycheck—and comes out of a consumer’s pocket.

So we have to streamline and simplify the system. We have to increase accountability. And we must insist on better analysis of the benefits and costs when they’re necessary. Because every regulation, well-meaning or not, increases the cost of doing business.

For starters, just look at the Administration’s regulatory agenda. Its regulation of greenhouse gases would limit fuel choice, increase energy prices and make power less reliable. Its proposed ozone standard could shut down facilities and force manufacturers to scrap expansion plans—all of which harm growth. And the Environmental Protection Agency itself said that their regulation alone could be the most expensive regulation in history.”

On Health Care

“There are also a number of other ways to be as competitive as we need to be. Our health care system needs to reduce costs, increase options and help employers and employees make informed decisions. Policymakers should eliminate the medical device tax that doesn’t just hurt manufacturers—it stifles research and development of medical advances that keep people healthy and safe.”

On Labor Policy

“We also need to hold the National Labor Relations Board accountable and remind it of its role as a neutral referee—a claim undermined when it forces through ambush elections and other misguided rules that create tension between employers and employees where none currently exists. And that’s why the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, which is bringing manufacturers together on several fronts to protect and defend the law, has filed a lawsuit against the NLRB to stop ambush elections and its abuse of authority.”

On Infrastructure

“Of course, bringing goods to market isn’t a challenge only overseas. The slowdown at our West Coast ports slams manufacturers in all sectors every day it remains unresolved. The challenge of managing inventory has forced one global manufacturer with plants in multiple states to limit overtime for thousands of its employees in January and February—and in some cases, it’s eliminated overtime completely. That means millions of dollars in lost wages.

Washington has to act, of course—the Administration should increase pressure on the parties to resolve the slowdown. But manufacturers have to act, too—all of them, large and small, all businesses and all citizens. Everyone has to encourage the parties to reach an agreement to return the ports to normal business operations—so that we can eliminate this uncertainty and keep global commerce moving.

Beyond this challenge, too many of our ports, roadways, railways and runways are getting worse by the year and are in desperate need of repair. You don’t need to take my word for it—you just need to take a drive through most parts of America, on roads and bridges that were built for a bygone era.”

Over the next three weeks, the NAM will continue the State of Manufacturing Tour and bring the message of a pro-growth manufacturing agenda to cities across the country. To follow the tour, click here



The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.09 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

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