Mixed Message on Manufacturing

Make: an American Manufacturing Movement is a new report from the Council on Competitiveness that indicates policymakers are receiving vastly conflicting reports on the state of U.S. manufacturing. In addition, it prescribes five "solutions" to help keep the U.S. on top.

The State Science & Technology Institute offers the following:

Policymakers, the report’s authors contend, are bombarded with widely available reports and analysis that support one of three conflicting views (it is on steep decline, doing reasonably well or it is poised for growth) on the health and importance of U.S. manufacturing.

"In reality, elements of all three perspectives are likely true," according to the authors. U.S. manufacturing remains the world’s top producer and an important part of the U.S. economy — employing more than 11 million and contributing more than $1.7 trillion to the economy. However, emerging economies are increasingly becoming a threat to U.S. competitiveness. Going forward, the U.S has the potential to capitalize on emerging marketplaces, but to achieve this the U.S. must find solutions to the challenges it faces.

The report provides five "solutions" to maintain the nation’s status as the world’s top producer, resolve its manufacturing challenges and capitalize on growing international demand:

  • Enact fiscal reform, transform tax laws, regulations and other structural costs to spur investment, ramp up production, capitalize growth companies and create skilled jobs

  • Create fair and open global markets for U.S. goods and services to reduce the trade deficit and increase exports as a percentage of gross domestic product

  • Prepare the next generation of innovators, researchers and highly-skilled workers

  • Create national advanced manufacturing networks and partnerships, prioritize R&D investments and deploy new tools, technologies and facilities

  • Develop and deploy smart, sustainable and resilient energy, transportation, production and cyber infrastructures