NAM study warns of innovation gap

By Plant Engineering Staff February 2, 2006

Downward trends in U.S. manufacturing innovation pose a serious threat to America’s long-term economic growth and living standards, according to a new report released today by the Council of Manufacturing Associations and The Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Our nation can not afford to lose its manufacturing innovation edge and the wealth that it generates throughout our economy,” said Jerry Jasinowski, president of The Manufacturing Institute, at a press conference Feb. 1.

“One bright ray of light is U.S. manufacturing’s tremendous productivity gains,” Jasinowski continued.living standards for U.S. workers.  Higher productivity growth also allows for lower interest rates as the economy grows faster without generating inflation.”

The report’s author, economist Joel Popkin, stated:chines,” Popkin continued.

  • Manufacturing output since the last recession lags that of earlier economic recoveries %%MDASSML%% its 15% growth is only half the pace averaged in recoveries of the past half-century.

  • Manufacturing capacity remains underutilized, slowing investment in new plants and equipment.

  • The U.S. share of global trade in manufactured products has shrunk, falling from 13 percent in the 1990s to 10 percent in 2004.

  • U.S. manufacturing offers rewarding and desirable careers for highly skilled workers.

  • America’s long-standing leadership in R&D is being challenged.

    • “If the innovation process goes offshore, America will lose much of its capacity to generate wealth and a decline in long-term economic growth is assured,” Dr. Popkin said.

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