National Association of Manufacturers’ Jay Timmons Delivers State of Industry Address

Troy, Michigan – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2018 State of Manufacturing Address at Automation Alley in Troy, Michigan. The speech kicked off a two-week national tour bringing together local manufacturers, employees, students, media, community leaders and elected officials to discuss the rewarding opportunities in manufacturing across the country and the urgent need to build the modern manufacturing workforce of the future. The tour will comprise  three-dozen events in eight states. Below are key excerpts from the speech:

The Future Of The Modern Manufacturing Workforce

“Today in America, manufacturers need to fill some 364,000 jobs. Over the next 7 to 8 years, we’ll need to fill around 3.5 million, according to a study from Deloitte and the NAM’s Manufacturing Institute. But two million of those jobs could go unfilled because we haven’t upskilled enough workers. Now, outside this room, there are probably people who will wonder: How can you talk about job creation at a place called “Automation Alley”? But here’s what you might not read in the news: automation and job creation are not at odds. Not in the least. American workers and American technology are not enemies. Innovation and automation are expanding what American workers can do, making the impossible possible and transforming this industry for the better.… Automation means jobs. Here in Oakland County, home of Automation Alley, you’ve added more than 19,000 manufacturing jobs since the Great Recession. That’s growth of more than 40 percent.… Innovation is changing the way our industry looks. But it doesn’t change what’s at our core: men and women who have lent their talents to build something bigger than themselves, people finding purpose in making things that matter. So, the challenge today isn’t a shortage of manufacturing jobs … The challenge is that the type of work in manufacturing is shifting. It’s not about white collar or blue collar. It’s about “new collar” jobs — jobs that are high-tech, 21st-century, rewarding, well-paying jobs — even those that don’t require a four-year degree.”

Frivolous Lawsuits Targeting Energy Manufacturers

“[T]here’s a lot of opportunity ahead of us. But there also are those who want to hurt manufacturing in America, who want to profit at our expense. There’s a growing trend, an alliance of activists, plaintiffs’ attorneys and politicians going after manufacturing companies with frivolous, misguided lawsuits. The lawyers want to make money; the politicians want to make headlines. At the NAM, we’re not letting this go unchallenged. That’s why we launched the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project to hold the actors accountable. We’re going to fight back because there’s too much at stake … Over the past decade, the United States has made greater reductions in greenhouse gasses than any nation on earth. Manufacturers have reduced emissions by 10 percent in that time, even as our value to the economy has increased 19 percent. We’re proving that environmental stewardship and economic growth can go hand in hand. And we want to expand the development of all types of energy, so that we can keep manufacturing growing.”

Tax Reform

“It is not possible to overstate how much tax reform matters to the future of manufacturing. For decades, we weren’t playing on a level playing field. While we assumed America’s economic engine couldn’t be challenged, other countries got smart. They lowered their rates so they could win jobs, win business. But now, manufacturers are empowered to compete and win. We want to look back 10, 20 years from now and be able to see what a difference tax reform made in the lives of working families. We’ve seen a lot of great headlines and stories of businesses investing in their workers and communities. That’s just the beginning. We will create more jobs and hire more skilled workers. We will invest in more plants and attract more investment to our shores. And we will enhance pay and benefits. For now, the most important fact is that the manufacturing economy in America — from Michigan to Mississippi, Maine to California — is on a more solid foundation.”

On Trade 

“Indeed, much of the manufacturing growth we’ve achieved in recent years is a direct result of our existing trade relationships, which support more than 6 million manufacturing jobs in our country. Exports of manufactured goods to Canada and Mexico alone support the jobs of more than 2 million people at more than 43,000 manufacturing companies across the United States. Let’s be clear, manufacturers always want America to negotiate the best deal possible. After all, 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States. So, as our negotiators seek to update NAFTA and challenge harmful market distortions in China and elsewhere, we need to do so with an eye toward securing strong tools to enforce the rules. The goal must be to ensure manufacturers and manufacturing workers in America are not forced to bear new costs or burdens. Oakland County is a perfect example of the benefits of trade in a global economy. In just the last four years, they’ve seen more than a billion dollars of foreign investment from 13 countries — accounting for nearly 6,200 new or retained jobs.”

On Immigration

“America is a trading nation, and we are also a nation of immigrants. And those immigrants, our friends and neighbors, are part of our workforce. They lead some of our greatest companies. They founded some of our biggest brands. For manufacturers, getting immigration reform passed — and, most urgently, finding a solution for the “Dreamers” — is a moral issue and an economic issue. We cannot rob people of the only country and communities they know; and we cannot rob our country of some of the hardest-working people we know. And so I join manufacturers across this country who have united to say to Congress: stop playing politics with people’s lives. Get this done, so we can build an immigration system that rightly ensures our security, while also welcoming hardworking people who want to contribute to this country.”

Click here for more information on the 2018 State of Manufacturing Tour.

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