Labor & Employment

To keep manufacturing an engine of the economy, we need labor policies that support flexibility and innovation.

Workforce

2.1 Million Manufacturing Jobs Could Go Unfilled by 2030

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The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.

The study’s dramatic findings come from online surveys of more than 800 U.S.-based manufacturing leaders, as well as interviews with executives across the industry and economic analyses. All told, they paint a worrying picture of manufacturing’s labor shortage. The lack of skilled labor was the industry’s major challenge even before the pandemic, according to the NAM’s quarterly outlook surveys—and this new study shows it’s still a major concern today.

The hard data: About 1.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost during the early days of the pandemic, according to the study, setting back the manufacturing labor force by more than a decade. However, the industry has largely recovered those lost jobs and is now urgently seeking more workers.

  • While the manufacturing industry recouped 63% of jobs lost during the pandemic, the remaining 570,000 had not been added back by the end of 2020, despite a near record number of job openings in the sector.

The inside scoop: Manufacturers surveyed reported that finding the right talent is now 36% harder than it was in 2018, even though the unemployment rate has nearly doubled the supply of available workers.

  • Executives reported they cannot even fill higher paying entry-level production positions, let alone find and retain skilled workers for specialized roles.
  • A long-term challenge: 77% of manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond.

A bright spot: Fortunately, the study found that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives exert a growing influence on workforce trends and can help manufacturers fill these empty jobs. Manufacturers have more work to do to attract larger numbers of women and diverse workers to the industry, and the Institute is leading an industry-wide effort to close the opportunity gap.

Deloitte says: “Given the foundational role the manufacturing sector plays in our nation’s economy, it is deeply concerning that at a time when jobs are in such high demand nationwide, the number of vacant entry-level manufacturing positions continues to grow,” said Paul Wellener, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. industrial products and construction leader. “Attracting and retaining diverse talent presents both a challenge and solution to bridging the talent gap. To attract a new generation of workers, the industry should work together to change the perception of work in manufacturing and expand and diversify its talent pipeline.”

The Institute says: “Manufacturers are proud to lead efforts to build stronger, more diverse and inclusive workplaces because we are committed to being the solution,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of the Institute. “As we expand our programs at The Manufacturing Institute, and work with the National Association of Manufacturers on initiatives like our Creators Wanted campaign and tour, we’re making sure that Americans of all backgrounds in all states can find a home in manufacturing and get equipped with the skills to seize these opportunities.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers React to President Biden’s First Speech to Congress

Timmons: “Manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world.”

Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s first presidential address to Congress, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Thanks to the leadership of vaccine manufacturers and the Biden administration’s successful vaccine distribution efforts, Americans are getting back to the activities and the people they love. Though the capacity limits in the House chamber tonight remind us that we still have a long way to go, our future is looking brighter.

“We look forward to working with President Biden to achieve historic infrastructure investment, including the many priorities offered in our ‘Building to Win’ plan, which, in addition to identifying areas of investment, also provides multiple funding solutions.

“Manufacturers have also provided roadmaps on critical issues ranging from immigration to climate change. We’re ready to work with President Biden and members of any party to deliver bipartisan progress on these issues and more, all while ensuring we’re strengthening the manufacturing workforce, not jeopardizing manufacturing growth in the United States.

“To that point, raising taxes on manufacturers—including many small businesses that pay at the individual rate—would stop our recovery in its tracks; we would lose 1 million jobs in just the first two years alone. Small manufacturers would be especially hard hit at this critical juncture, restricting their ability to raise wages and benefits, hire more workers and invest in their communities. Similarly, changes to the longstanding tax rules on the transfer of family businesses to the next generation of manufacturers would cost American jobs.

“Returning to archaic tax policies and one of the highest business tax rates in the developed world is not the way to build our future, nor are federal policies to force workers to join a union. Anti-worker policies like the PRO Act would inject uncertainty by driving a wedge in established employee–employer relationships and curtail future manufacturing investments that support our communities and families.

“As we continue to get armed against COVID-19, manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world—one that affords even greater opportunity for all Americans.”

Background:

The NAM continues to put forward commonsense proposals to educate and inform policymakers on ways to strengthen manufacturing in America while achieving our shared objectives.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Workforce

Manufacturing Institute Takes on Second Chance Hiring

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The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the NAM—is partnering with the Charles Koch Institute to expand second chance hiring opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

What is second chance hiring? One in three Americans possess a criminal record. Without being offered a “second chance” at a stable job, many in this sizable talent pool are excluded from the workforce.   

Why it matters: The manufacturing industry has more than half a million jobs open right now and will need to fill 4 million over the next decade. Second chance programs not only increase equal opportunity and diversity in the industry but are also a key tool for building manufacturing’s future workforce.

What we’re doing about it: The MI’s initiative, funded by a grant from the Charles Koch Institute, will offer resources and expertise to help employers make the best use of second chance hiring. These resources will include roundtable discussions and webinars, C-suite leadership events, case studies, a pilot program and original research for the manufacturing industry.

The MI says: “Second chance hiring gives businesses an opportunity to welcome highly motivated, engaged, productive and loyal new team members that may otherwise be overlooked,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “This is not only the right thing to do for our businesses, but it’s also the right thing to strengthen our communities.”

  • “This partnership enables the MI to educate manufacturers in America on second chance hiring best practices and help them utilize second chance hiring as a strategy to fill open jobs. This effort will also expand our Diversity and Inclusion initiative that’s critical to the future health and success of the industry.”

A real-world example: Nehemiah Manufacturing Co., a consumer-product manufacturer in Cincinnati, has a workforce of about 180 employees—about 80% of whom have criminal records, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription). These employees serve in all sorts of positions, including leadership roles, from production to fulfillment and more.

  • “We found that the population we were hiring who had criminal backgrounds were our most loyal people,” Nehemiah President Richard Palmer told the Journal. “When we were looking for people to work overtime, come in on Saturday or go that extra mile, it was the second-chance population that was saying, ‘I’m in.’”

The last word: “One of the biggest barriers to successful reentry for those with a record is lack of employment opportunities,” said CKI Executive Director Derek Johnson. “If we truly want to reduce recidivism and increase public safety, all while empowering those returning to our communities to contribute at their fullest potential, we need to expand second chance hiring opportunities. CKI is proud to join this partnership to scale that impact and expand second chance hiring across more employers.”

Press Releases

Timmons Opening Statement to U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Hearing on Made in America: Effect of the U.S. Tax Code on Domestic Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the following opening statement at a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing entitled Made in America: Effect of the U.S. Tax Code on Domestic Manufacturing.

Click here to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I’m joining you virtually because of the pandemic that this country has endured for more than a year now. But this pandemic is far more than a story of economic hardship and painful loss. It’s also a story of communities and companies rising to the challenge.

America’s manufacturing workers mobilized in ways reminiscent of their resolve during World War II, when manufacturers became the arsenal of democracy. The companies joining me today are part of this effort. Ford remade shop floors to make ventilators and face shields. Intel accelerated access to technology to combat the pandemic. From iconic global brands to family-owned shops, manufacturers answered the call.

Today, one year after health restrictions began, the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter by the second—thanks to the innovation of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Their heroic work, combined with the previous administration’s Operation Warp Speed and this Congress and this administration’s focus on and investment in vaccine distribution, is now saving about 2 million American lives every single day.

Manufacturing workers’ achievements are all the more impressive when you consider the disruptions they had to overcome. This pandemic exposed and exacerbated serious supply chain issues that we now must address as we work to build the next post-pandemic world.

In spring 2020, the National Association of Manufacturers released our plan for strengthening manufacturing supply chains. I’ve discussed it directly with some of you.

Our goal is your goal: Ensuring that the next dollar invested in manufacturing is invested in America.

The plan is comprehensive, from taxes to workforce. The central premise is that incentives—not punitive measures—will allow us to achieve our shared goal.

Let me call out three key recommendations.

Number one: We must recognize the importance of predictability and stability in the tax code. Tax reform made manufacturers more competitive, driving historic job creation, wage growth and productivity in its immediate aftermath. Let’s not undo that progress.

Number two: Manufacturers in America can only remain at the cutting edge if our tax code supports innovation. Unfortunately, it will do just the opposite starting next year.

A looming change to the tax treatment of research costs will make it more expensive to perform R&D—potentially costing America its innovation edge.

Number three: Let’s recognize a simple truth—policies that are successful in growing manufacturing will require significant capital expenditures by the small and medium-sized firms that are the backbone of our domestic supply chain.

But two other looming changes to the tax code will make those expenditures difficult. More stringent limitations on interest deductions and the phase out of immediate expensing will take effect in the years ahead. If not reversed, these changes will make it hard to grow manufacturing.

Ultimately, ensuring that next manufacturing dollar is invested right here in America requires looking at the entire business climate.

And that means that this Congress will have to address other pressing questions.

Will tax rates for businesses of all sizes remain competitive—or better yet, become more competitive—so that we can keep attracting investment?

Will the regulatory system provide certainty and clarity?

Will health care become more affordable—without compromising free market principles?

Will this nation finally make the bold investments in infrastructure that are long overdue?

Will energy be abundant, affordable and reliable?

Will export opportunities increase while we enforce our existing trade agreements to protect American workers?

And will we achieve comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that those hidden in the shadows or brought here as children can become permanent, productive members of society?

If the answer to those questions is “yes,” if we tackle these fundamental issues, then I’m certain that this Next World that we are building in the aftermath of the pandemic will be built by American workers in American factories, restoring American leadership in the world.

Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers: PRO Act Is Anti-Worker

New Survey Shows Danger to Operations and Relationships

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the below statement in advance of the House of Representatives’ vote on the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. In the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, a startling 97% of respondents familiar with the PRO Act said it would negatively impact operations and damage relationships with manufacturing workers.

“When you consider the harm that it will do to the employer–employee relationship, it’s clear the PRO Act is anti-worker,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “As the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey highlights, manufacturers have deep concerns about the PRO Act’s intrusions on worker privacy and restrictions on workplace communication—among many other issues. It will make it harder for manufacturers to thrive and more difficult to foster positive, inclusive workplace cultures.

“Manufacturers recognize and support workers’ federally-protected right to collectively bargain. But the PRO Act will upend the modern workplace, and it could set back our industry, our workers and their families at a time when optimism is finally on the rise.”

Background: More than 130 organizations representing manufacturers nationwide joined an NAM letter opposing the PRO Act.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers: America Is Still Living in Crisis, Action Is Needed

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the American Rescue Plan.

“Manufacturers have witnessed the health and economic devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to too many families across our country. The American people have endured immense pain and uncertainty for a year now, and we have more difficult months ahead. Too many people continue to need help with the basics—housing, food and financial stability. So as Congress continues to consider relief and support for these families, we urge lawmakers to take a bipartisan approach that ensures resources are targeted in the most effective way to have the most powerful impact. The vaccines developed by innovative pharmaceutical manufacturers will help bring an end to this pandemic, so we urge all lawmakers to support vital resources to deploy more vaccines as quickly as possible and arm Americans against COVID-19.

“America is still living through a crisis, and crisis demands action. Manufacturers believe the best course is one that is focused on providing the relief Americans need and one that achieves broad support.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

NAM Pushes Back on PRO Act

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The NAM is speaking out against H.R. 842/S. 420, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

Impacting workers: The bill would remove the right to a secret ballot in union elections, allow unions to access personal employee information in union-organizing drives, prevent workers from working as independent contractors and force workers to pay union dues even if they do not support the union.

Impacting businesses: The bill would also increase liability and penalties, threaten supply chains and create an adverse relationship between employers and employees—while also making it harder for businesses to access legal counsel.

Our take: “The PRO Act is a misguided attempt to fundamentally restructure American workplaces and would infringe on workers’ rights to a secret ballot, workplace democracy and personal privacy,” said NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling in a letter to Congress.

  • “This bill is being considered during an unprecedented global pandemic, in which manufacturing workers are supplying Americans with the medicine, protective equipment and goods necessary to defeat COVID-19… It is critical that Congress consider policies that support manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19, but the PRO Act would do the opposite.”

In other congressional news, the NAM threw its support behind H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2021, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.

  • “Manufacturers have known for years that an inclusive workplace with meaningful anti-discrimination protections helps them hire and retain the best possible workforce,” said NAM Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly in a letter to the House of Representatives. “Individuals can only thrive when they can bring their whole selves to work. Manufacturers can only attract talented employees when those employees feel safe from discrimination, harassment or worse at work and in their communities.”
Press Releases

In Fight Against COVID-19, Partnership on DPA Is Critical

Timmons: “Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part.”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the Biden administration’s use of the Defense Production Act:

“Manufacturers have consistently advised the federal government that the Defense Production Act is most productive if deployed in a way that fosters partnership and provides incentives—rather than imposing demands or punitive measures.

“With this announcement, the Biden administration is demonstrating that they have listened to manufacturers and are seeking a true partnership in defeating COVID-19.

“These measures will strengthen our ability to continue providing the treatments and vaccines that we need to save lives, the equipment we need to protect frontline workers and the food and supplies that families need for their everyday lives. Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part.

“We will also continue to set the standard for safe behaviors—wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and, when able, getting vaccinated.”

Background: In December 2020, the NAM sent a letter to members of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board, providing manufacturers’ insights on constructive uses of the DPA.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Stand Ready to Support Administration’s Efforts to Defeating COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on President Joe Biden’s executive orders aimed at combatting COVID-19:

“Manufacturers commend the Biden administration for their laser focus on defeating the pandemic and for treating COVID-19 with the seriousness it deserves. Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part—from keeping workplaces and communities safe to providing the food, supplies, vaccines and treatments needed to sustain life. We will also continue to set the standard for safe behaviors—wearing masks, distancing, washing hands and, when able, getting vaccinated.

“A smart, targeted partnership between the administration and manufacturers can shape the use of the Defense Production Act to maximize its potential and effectiveness. Leveraging government purchasing power and investment to increase the production of personal protective equipment, vaccines and other critical supplies while collaborating with manufacturers that are eager to contribute in every way possible can help us all achieve the goals outlined today.

“A similar approach is necessary from OSHA as well. Manufacturers’ highest priority remains the health and safety of our teams, families and communities. Throughout the pandemic, we have set the standard in developing protocols to provide workers with facilities free from hazards and to safeguard their operations. What manufacturers need now is clear, science-based information on how COVID-19 spreads, and any rules or standards should provide the flexibility necessary for companies to implement health protocols tailored to the unique circumstances of their shop floors and work environments.

“We look forward to continuing to be a source of information and insight for the Biden administration as we work to unite the country around a successful strategy to save lives and rebuild the economy.”

Background:

In April 2020, the NAM released its “American Renewal Action Plan,” which outlined policy recommendations to combat COVID-19 and spur economic growth.

In December 2020, the NAM sent a letter to members of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board, providing manufacturers’ insights on constructive uses of the DPA.

In January, the NAM sent a letter to Labor Secretary nominee Marty Walsh outlining manufacturers’ views on OSHA’s approach to COVID-19 safety protocols.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Press Releases

Manufacturers Outline Executive Action Policy Priorities for Incoming Administration

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers called on President-elect Joe Biden to help ensure the future strength of manufacturing in America by extending key executive orders into the new administration and rescinding those that have harmed manufacturing.

“For decades, we have worked with policymakers from across the ideological spectrum to craft policies that encourage the growth of manufacturing in the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in a letter to the incoming administration. “Now more than ever, America needs leaders in Washington who are focused on increasing American jobs, wages and investment.”

The letter outlines executive orders that have had a significant impact, positive or negative, on manufacturers over the past four years, and it urges the president-elect “to reverse the most harmful of these orders and keep or expand those that create an environment that is conducive to growing America’s manufacturing sector.”

The NAM’s recommendations will help manufacturers continue to respond to the devastating pandemic and will also power the United States’ economic recovery by setting the stage for manufacturing growth.

To read the full letter, click here.

Background:

The NAM has requested President-elect Biden repeal the following executive orders and consider executive orders for extension.

Executive Orders

Rescind:

  • “Rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program”
  • E.O. 13950 – “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping”
  • E.O. 13672 – “Revocation of Federal Contracting”
  • E.O. 13769 – “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
  • “President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 21”
  • Presidential Proclamation 10052 – “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”
  • E.O. 13944 – “Ensuring Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures and Critical Inputs Are Made in the United States”
  • E.O. 13948 – “Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First”
  • E.O. 13957 – “Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service”

Extend:

  • E.O. 13771 – “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”
  • E.O. 13805 – “Establishing a Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure”
  • E.O. 13766 – “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects”
  • E.O. 13845 – “Continuing the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board”
  • E.O. 13932 – “Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates”
  • E.O. 13777 – “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”
  • E.O. 13806 – “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States”
  • E.O.s – “Strengthening the Federal Government’s Anti-Counterfeiting Efforts”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

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