Congress to fund MEPs
Congress has approved $106 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, which serve 14,000 businesses each year and are credited with helping retain more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. in companies and generating more than $4.1 billion in sales.
"The MEPs serve a critical role in helping small manufacturers take advantage of cutting edge technologies and compete in the global marketplace," said National Association of Manufacturers president John Engler said. "Manufacturers in the U.S. must contend with an array of disadvantages - soaring energy and health care costs, runaway litigation, lack of qualified workers, excessive taxes and unfair foreign competition - that are largely caused by unwise government policies. To the extent the MEPs can help small companies overcome these obstacles, they constitute a wise and prudent investment.
"Many of our members benefit from this program, and to the extent they are able to create jobs and keep manufacturing in the U.S., it's good for everyone," Engler said. "The NAM fought for this funding and we will continue to work and with the MEPs."
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey