“Policy can’t be developed in a vacuum,” says Dawn Crandall, executive vice president of government relations for the Home Builders Association of Michigan. “People need to look at how one policy impacts that next thing. Everything is tied together.”
That’s Crandall’s message for the Environmental Protection Agency, as it considers a proposed air quality rule to restrict particles called PM2.5. While the regulations might not appear to impact the housing industry directly, they could prevent manufacturers from expanding facilities and creating jobs in Michigan—which does affect the housing market.
The concern: If manufacturers are unable to grow in the state or open new facilities, fewer people will need housing. That’s bad news for homebuilders.
- “If you put in these EPA regulations that are going to create a barrier for companies looking to move here, and then they decide they don’t want to, that’s going to impact Michigan’s ability to be an economic destination,” said Crandall.
- “And if you make it harder for businesses to employ employees, then they don’t need housing. That has a big impact on us.”
A shaky foundation: Michigan’s housing industry is still recovering from the significant downturn it experienced about 15 years ago.
- That slump was dramatic: according to Crandall, the number of permits filed in Michigan for single-family homes fell sharply from 54,721 in 2005 to around 15,000 two years later, bottoming out to about 6,900 in 2009.
- Although the industry has seen some recovery since then, new construction remains relatively low, and Crandall worries that shocks caused by the EPA’s proposed regulations could do further harm.
- “I think we’ve hit rock bottom, and we’re slowly coming out of it,” said Crandall. “But we’re only projecting 16,000 single-family permit builds this year—and anything that’s going to impact residential construction is not good for the state of Michigan.”
Another challenge: Ultimately, Crandall is concerned that the EPA’s proposed rule will simply add to a long list of challenges for homebuilders.
- “We’re already facing enough hurdles,” said Crandall. “There’s a lack of skilled workers who can do residential construction. Material costs peaked during COVID. We get a lot of our lumber from Canada, so these Canadian wildfires could have an impact. So if PM2.5 is going to affect economic development in our state, that’s going to have an impact on us, too.”
The big idea: “We’re all connected in some form or fashion,” said Crandall. “Michigan needs to grow our population, and we can’t do that if companies don’t bring people into our state who want to live, work and play here. We’re one big ecosystem.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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