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Tax Reform Has Fueled Manufacturing, Propelling the American Economy
Tax reform has made the U.S. economy boom and allowed manufacturers to buy more equipment and hire more workers. Last year was the most optimistic year for manufacturers on record—and businesses have been paying that optimism forward. While some lawmakers have suggested rolling back tax reform’s pro-growth provisions, it has been key to the impressive economic gains seen across the country, and rolling it back would mean rolling back that progress as well. Manufacturers need continued economic policies that support growth, encourage long-term planning and make good business sense.
Open Trade Distinguishes a Successful Nation, Delay and Uncertainly Hold Back
International economic growth has increased opportunities dramatically for manufacturers to sell to the 95 percent of the global population living outside of the U.S. However, barriers and challenges remain. The NAM has worked to foster an open and fair global economy because manufacturers can grow our own economy by selling more of what we make to these customers, and U.S. manufacturing thrives when there is a level playing field where rules are respected.
Strengthening Manufacturing by Capitalizing on the Energy Renaissance
Today’s access to diverse, affordable and reliable energy was unthinkable 20 or even 10 years ago. Manufacturers utilize and benefit from all forms of energy—oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables—while making smart investments to become more energy efficient. In recent years, manufacturers have been incredibly successful in working to achieve a regulatory system that allows businesses to succeed and the economy to grow while balancing necessary protections for public health, safety and the environment. Everyone wants clean water and clean air. Everyone needs a good job and an economy that delivers new opportunities and a better life. With the help of regulatory certainty, manufacturers are proving they can deliver both.
Achieving the Right Balance That Is Good for the Environment and Good for Business
In the eyes of America’s manufacturers, the need to act on climate is no longer up for debate, and manufacturing is more sustainable than ever thanks in large part to a revolution in how we produce and use energy. Across the board, levels of virtually every major pollutant have declined dramatically. Over the past decade in particular, manufacturers have been leaders in driving a sea change in the way businesses address climate change and advance sustainable manufacturing in America. Manufacturers are keeping their promise to deliver not just strong economic growth but also responsible environmental stewardship.
Transportation and Infrastructure
A Priority Necessary to Compete
Great nations build and invest in great infrastructure. But in the 21st century, the U.S. is still too dependent on 20th-century investments. Now in an alarming state of disrepair and in urgent need of new funding, America’s infrastructure can no longer wait. Families, communities and manufacturers need modern transportation, energy, broadband and water infrastructure to meet the demands of today’s economy. This is why the NAM released “Building to Win,” an infrastructure blueprint that will bolster national security, improve commerce and communication and strengthen the ties that bind us together while preparing our country to grow and succeed into the future.
Adapting Labor Policies for a 21st-Century Workforce
The United States will not maintain its mantle of economic leadership unless all labor stakeholders work together to ensure the best and most productive workplaces. Employees, organized labor, management and lawmakers should collaborate in search of outcomes that deliver a positive work environment, opportunities for employee professional growth and safe and healthy facilities. Labor law and workplace regulations that were designed for a previous era should be updated and modernized to reflect the changing dynamics of modern society.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Strengthens Manufacturing
The NAM has led the business community in calling for solutions to our broken immigration system. It’s taking a human toll. It’s taking an economic toll. And, because manufacturers must also offer proactive solutions for our broken immigration system, the NAM put forward not just calls to action but also a real path ahead as outlined in our plan “A Way Forward” detailing concrete proposals to fix our broken immigration system.
Manufacturers Are Creating More Open Jobs Than There Are Skilled Workers to Fill Them
While a high number of manufacturers have felt optimistic about the economy recently, a similarly high number have expressed serious concerns about finding the skilled workers they’ll need to continue growing into the future. Due to the workforce crisis, over the next decade, 2.4 million jobs could go unfilled, and about $2.5 trillion worth of GDP could be at risk, according to a study by The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of the NAM—and Deloitte. Simply put, there are far more open jobs in manufacturing than workers ready to fill them—a problem that is likely to get much worse in the coming years unless this trend is reversed. The next generation of workers must be educated about the job opportunities that exist and equipped with the skills necessary to fill them, and the Institute is working hard every day to support the manufacturing workforce of today and grow the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow through a variety of programs designed to excite, educate and empower.
Keeping Manufacturers Healthy and Productive in a Post-Affordable Care World
Escalating health care costs continue to be one of manufacturers’ top concerns. There are many causes behind them, but a major driver is the range of taxes in Obamacare. Manufacturers need certainty to negotiate health care plans with affordable premium costs and best-in-class benefits for employees, which means these taxes ultimately need to be repealed entirely, not just delayed as they have been in the past.
Research, Innovation and Technology
Powering a Manufacturing Renaissance
Manufacturers in the United States have created an innovation engine that has delivered new technologies and processes that have brought us energy independence, new lifesaving medicines and medical devices, more efficient automobiles and countless other everyday products that make lives better and secure our nation’s global leadership position in manufacturing.
Regulatory and Legal Reform
Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth
Manufacturers value a clean environment, safe workplaces and responsible development as much as anyone else. We want smart regulations, not no regulations. While the kind of overregulation we saw in previous years represented the surest way to hold back our country’s economic potential, a new regulatory philosophy from Washington has coincided with manufacturers’ recent historic levels of optimism. The NAM supports commonsense rules that make manufacturers’ obligations clear, consistent and reasonable given current technology.
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