New Study: Manufacturers Face 297,696 Regulatory Restrictions

Our Current Regulatory Structure is Holding Us Back!

Washington, D.C., January 18, 2017 – As the incoming Trump administration prepares to reform and roll back many misguided federal regulations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new study revealing the sheer number of business and operational hurdles that manufacturers face on a daily basis as a result of the nation’s current regulatory structure.

The study, called “Holding Us Back: Regulation of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector,” is based on extensive interviews, a survey of the NAM membership and an analysis of hundreds of specific federal regulations. Key findings include:

  • Manufacturers face 297,696 restrictions on their operations from federal regulations.
  • Eighty-seven percent of manufacturers surveyed say that if compliance costs were reduced permanently and significantly, they would invest the savings on hiring, increased salaries and wages, more R&D or capital replacement.
  • Ninety-four percent of manufacturers surveyed say the regulatory burden has gotten higher in the last 5 years, with 72% saying “significantly higher.”
“On Day One, President-elect Trump can deliver a boost to manufacturing by taking the lead on balancing our regulatory system,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “As this study demonstrates, manufacturers work diligently to comply with regulations handed down from Washington. We believe in smart regulations that keep our communities and workplaces safe, but too often, these rules go too far or are too complex. Manufacturers want to invest more and hire more in the United States, but too often the cost of doing business—and even just functioning on a daily basis—makes that difficult.

“We have a president-elect who wants to take a hands-on approach to securing jobs here in the United States, and Congress can help get that ball rolling by approving his Cabinet appointees so they can get to work streamlining regulations in their respective agencies.” 

Small and medium-sized manufacturers, which comprise more than 90 percent of the NAM’s membership, often bear the heaviest regulatory burden.

“For the last eight years, the outgoing administration has hindered small and mid-sized firms’ success,” said President and CEO of Marlin Steel and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Chairman Drew Greenblatt. “Time and money that could be spent on job creation are instead wasted on complying with out-of-touch federal rules. We believe in smart regulations—and simply want to see balance and common sense return to rulemaking. Congress and the next administration can work in the best interest of manufacturers by getting to work right away on rethinking red tape and regulations in a thoughtful and productive way.”

Read the full regulatory narrative study by clicking here.

To read more about the NAM’s regulatory reform priorities for the 115th Congress, visit our Competing to Win webpage.


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 $2.17 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

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