President Obama recently gave his much anticipated “State of the Union” address to the nation, and dedicated a strong section of his speech to the future of U.S. manufacturing and what 2014 will look like for businesses tied to it.
The speech brought many promising signs for manufacturers. However, according to some well-known manufacturing leaders, including J. Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Jack Gerard, president of the American petroleum Institute (API), the President’s words may have rang a bit empty and left much to be desired.
“This is the third consecutive State of the Union in which there has been a strong rhetorical focus on manufacturing, and that’s welcome,” says Paul, adding, “But the progress, despite the rosy picture painted by the President, has been painfully slow.” He expressed particular frustration over the fact that, while the re-shoring of manufacturing jobs is a trend American companies are noticing, the impact of it is still far off. “Yes, half of CEOs may be considering re-shoring, but few have actually moved their jobs back,” Paul says, noting, “our trade flow and looking at FDI compared to China provides the evidence.”
NAM’s Jay Timmons expressed initial optimism in saying, “the President reaffirmed his commitment to manufacturing, and we stand ready to help him ensure that the ‘year of action’ translates to a year of growth.” However Timmons, focusing on the issue of overall growth, says that the President missed an important opportunity in his omission of the Keystone XL pipeline during his ‘all-of-the-above’ speech on energy strategy. “The President missed an opportunity to show the American people that Washington can put politics aside for pro-growth policies,” he says, adding, “He [Obama] failed to call for comprehensive reform that will drive growth for all industries.”
API’s Jack Gerrard echoed Timmon’s disapproval of the President’s stance on the Keystone XL pipeline, and took it a step further, saying that the lack of pro-growth energy policies and the taxes that have been levied on the oil and natural gas industries has stymied the energy industry’s ability to progress further. “These pro-growth energy policies would create millions of stable, good paying jobs, which is the American people’s number one priority,” Gerrard says.
According to Gerrard, the oil and natural gas industries contribute over $85 million a day to the federal government, which would make them the largest contributor of government revenue than any other industry in the United States.
So while President Obama had many positive things to say about manufacturing’s landscape for 2014, leaders across many industries are remaining cautious and skeptical about just how far things will progress by the end of the year.
About the National Association of Manufacturers
he National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 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 nearly 12 million men and women, contributes more than $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for two-thirds 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
About the American Alliance for Manufacturing
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a non-profit, non-partisan partnership formed in 2007 by some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers to explore common solutions to challenging public policy topics such as job creation, infrastructure investment, international trade, and global competitiveness. For more information, please visit www.americanmanufacturing.org. AAM has released its blueprint for an American manufacturing resurgence, ReMaking America.
About the American Petroleum Institute
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 580 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans. www.api.org