Manufacturing ‘resurgence’ possible with accelerated effort
MAPI, Aspen Institute report says ‘disciplined’ approach needed to address tax, energy, export and Skills Gap issues
A new report release by The Aspen Institute and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) last week says that an acceleration of policy changes already in place could lead to a “manufacturing resurgence” that would drive manufacturing’s portion of the GDP to level not seen since the end of the 20th century.
The report looked at key issues that most manufacturing experts agree are the key to continued growth in the manufacturing sector: a balancing of export and import policies, greater capital investments in manufacturing, a comprehensive energy policy, addressing the shortfalls in the tax and regulatory issues affecting manufacturing and addressing the Skills Gap in manufacturing. The report said a more concerted effort is needed in all those areas, but that the effort could grow the manufacturing share of GDP from its current level of 11.5% to 15%, a level last achieved in 1998.
“The robust results presented in the study are achievable with only modest acceleration of current trends, and none of the policy recommendations mark a radical departure from current policy trajectories,” said Thomas J. Duesterberg, author of the report and the executive director of The Aspen Institute’s Manufacturing and Society program. “But they require a willingness to change in a disciplined way.”
“With no changes in public policy the manufacturing base will continue to shrink as a share of GDP as it has for the past decade,” added Stephen Gold, MAPI president and CEO. “With just a few policy shifts, however, manufacturing in America can experience a resurgence that will ensure new innovation, increased productivity, more jobs, and a rise in living standards on our shores.”
If those policy changes are accelerated, the report cited the following benefits:
- Manufacturing jobs would grow by 300,000 a year, or 3.7 million jobs by 2025.
- The U.S. trade deficit would completely reverse course, from a current $500 billion deficit to a $700 billion surplus.
“At a minimum, this forecasting exercise ought to lend some hope that we can indeed look ahead to a manufacturing resurgence and the sustainable economic gains that it brings, if we choose to follow this path,” Duesterberg said.
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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