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Healthcare Costs Top The List Of Concerns For U.S. Manufacturers

Written by Tim Morral
Published: 6/21/2013

More than half of all manufacturing companies aren't prepared to comply with new healthcare mandates slated to go into effect in 2014.

Manufacturing isn't getting any easier. Increased global competition and other challenges have made it more difficult than ever for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies to compete at home and abroad.

Healthcare Costs Rising for Manufacturing

But despite the many obstacles faced by today's manufacturing firms, a recent study showed that healthcare is the leading concern of manufacturing employers in the U.S. More than half of the manufacturers surveyed by National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) indicated that they were unsure or unprepared to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act--changes that are slated to take effect in 2014.

Surveyed manufacturers also expressed concern about taxes, government regulations and the impact of uncertainties related to the current U.S. political climate.

Other findings from the survey included:

  • 82 percent of respondents cited rising healthcare and insurance costs as their primary challenge--an increase of 74 percent from previous surveys
  • Two-thirds of manufacturers pointed to an unfavorable business climate caused by taxes and regulation as important concerns
  • 67 percent identified the current U.S. political climate as a top concern

"This quarter's survey shows that manufacturers need solutions and certainty as concerns about rising health care costs climb and taxes and regulation remain a top challenge for growth," said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. "Job growth in manufacturing remains stagnant as the sector lost 8,000 jobs in May. To see strong manufacturing growth in the second half of 2013, Washington needs to act on policies addressing manufacturers' top challenges to reduce uncertainty and help our nation better compete globally."

Regardless of outlook, it's critical for all small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses to educate themselves about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible. In many cases, manufacturing employers may be surprised to learn about the benefits of the new health bill for entrepreneurs and discover that the real dollar impact of changes in healthcare costs may not be as dramatic as they suspected.

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