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Manufacturing At A Crossroads, Says Industry Spokesperson

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 2/26/2013

NAM President Jay Timmons warns that U.S. manufacturing is at a critical juncture between a renaissance and a meltdown.

Manufacturing has long been a staple of small business and the larger U.S. economy. For more than a century, American manufacturing companies created products that dominated markets at home and abroad.

How Healthy Is US Manufacturing?

While it's no secret that the manufacturing sector has suffered serious setbacks over the past few decades, a manufacturing industry representative recently claimed that the industry is at a crossroads, stuck between a manufacturing resurgence and even an even steeper decline.

In a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said, "Manufacturing today is not where it needs to be. We have been treading water. It is 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in this country than it is anywhere else in the world--a direct result of years of policy choices made in our nation's capital. Manufacturers are now at a point where the right policy choices can propel us toward a manufacturing renaissance, and the wrong choices can send manufacturers into a precipitous decline."

Timmons discussed several strategies that can be implemented to help strengthen U.S. manufacturing including tax reform, less restrictive energy policies, expanded global markets and initiatives to spur innovation.

Lack of capital limits the ability of small business entrepreneurs to launch manufacturing startups. Since manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry, startups often find it difficult to capture the attention of a qualified venture capital firm. Instead, VCs tend to focus on technology and other sectors that require lower investments and deliver higher rates of return.

Timmons went on to describe several benchmarks that will need to be achieved in order to revitalize the manufacturing sector by 2020. These benchmarks include industrial production growth of 4.5 percent, 20,000 manufacturing jobs created per month and GDP growth of 3.5 percent annually. According to Timmons, these benchmarks are realistic and represent the minimum growth the industry hopes to achieve.

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