NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US…

NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US…

Dec 7, 2017

“NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US manufacturing competitiveness” By Steve Handschuh and Cody Lusk, The Hill Some might assume that, from an automotive industry perspective, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a “Michigan automaker issue.” But in fact, the positive impacts of NAFTA in the automotive industry touch every state — and just about every neighborhood — in the U.S. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing facilities are located across the country and directly employ more than 871,000 Americans. Of course, many are in or near Michigan, but tens of thousands of motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs are in states like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Illinois. Nearly 32,000 motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs are in California — and that number does not include the fast-growing automotive technology industry that has swept through Silicon Valley and beyond. Just think about automated and autonomous vehicles, smart cities and grid capabilities enabled by vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and vehicle-to-vehicle communications — these current and emerging technologies are motor vehicle parts revolutionizing how we use motor vehicles. NAFTA has made these innovations and job growth possible. Americans learn about and access these incredible technologies in new cars at their neighborhood auto dealership. Last year, 16,708 auto dealers operated in every corner of the United States, providing 1,131,900 well-paid American jobs ranging from supervisors to salespeople to technicians, all while selling a record 17.4 million light vehicles. That’s 2 million more vehicles than were sold the year before NAFTA went into effect. Dealers in all 50 states deliver an important service to their communities, offering a wide variety of competitively priced vehicles and developing strong relationships with their customers, an important factor in effectively executing safety recalls and ensuring that the vehicles on our roads are properly serviced. From parts manufacturers to community dealer showrooms, a free trade environment and an open supply chain have kept the cost of automobiles down while giving the consumer access to safety and other technologies that save lives, reduce emissions, ease traffic congestion and improve quality of life. That is why keeping NAFTA intact is so important and why we are part of the Driving American Jobs community of auto trade associations, manufacturers,...

Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay…

Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay…

Dec 5, 2017

“Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay Over $100K. It’s Having A Hard Time Filling Them.” By Andrew Clark, National Association of Manufacturers  One of the most daunting challenges facing U.S. manufacturing in the next decade is the “skills gap,” the lack of qualified, trained workers to fill new positions. One story out of North Carolina this week highlights just how pressing of an issue the skills gap can be. Manufacturing company Ingersoll Rand, whose product line includes including Club Car golf carts, Thermo King refrigerators and Trane air conditioners, employs about 2,000 local workers in Davidson, North Carolina. They also have nearly 1,000 open positions, some of which pay over $100,000. They’re having trouble finding people to fill them: The main cause of that is the so-called skills gap, CEO Michael Lamach said in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters. The term refers to a shortage of workers with the necessary technical skills to handle machinery, perform service on the equipment and use advanced technology, among other functions. It’s a perplexing thing, too, since the jobs are often high-paying, and usually don’t require a college degree, Lamach said. Commercial technicians at Ingersoll Rand, for instance, can make up to $105,000 without having attended a four-year university. “Most parents, I think, will coach their kids to go to college, and in doing so, are not thinking about some of the vocational areas,” he said. Ingersoll Rand’s story is yet another reminder of the uphill climb many manufacturers are experiencing as grow and seek out a skilled workforce. The National Association of Manufacturers has made closing the skills gap a top priority. Our Creators Wanted campaign, launched earlier this year, is a manufacturing-backed initiative to educate policy makers about the issues facing manufacturing, change public perceptions about the industry, share stories, and encourage students to consider careers in modern...

Making Manufacturing Great Again Would Add $530 Billion…

Making Manufacturing Great Again Would Add $530 Billion…

Nov 28, 2017

“Making Manufacturing Great Again Would Add $530 Billion to GDP” By Andrew Soergel, Economy Reporter, U.S. News  A new report suggests investments in today’s manufacturing operations could carry hundreds of billions of dollars in economic payoffs. The U.S. manufacturing sector has weathered a bumpy road over the course of the past two decades – but successfully righting the country’s industrial ship would mean an economic windfall of $530 billion, according to a new report from The McKinsey Global Institute. McKinsey put out a lengthy report last week profiling the past several years of U.S. manufacturing malaise – noting that only a few sectors, like “pharmaceuticals, electronics and aerospace” have emerged relatively unscathed. “Some industries staged a modest demand-driven recovery between 2010 and 2015. But growth in overall U.S. manufacturing output has been slowing for two decades, with little net increase during the most recent decade,” the report said. “Today there are roughly 25 percent fewer U.S. manufacturing firms and plants than there were in 1997, reflecting not only closures but also fewer manufacturing startups. Along the way, the sector has shed roughly one-third of its jobs.” The sector’s decline has been bad news for America’s international standing, as “low-cost contract manufacturers in locations such as Mexico, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh” gained market share. It’s also contributed to an erosion of the U.S. middle class, eaten away at economic growth and – along with a rise in automation – contributed to significant job losses. There were more than 5 million fewer manufacturing workers in the U.S. last month than there were 20 years prior in October 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Smaller manufacturers, in particular, have suffered, while larger operations have in many cases managed to navigate the complicated international industrial waters. “Many Americans long for a return to the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s, when manufacturing jobs were the bedrock of the middle class and the United States led the world in industrial output,” the study said, in some ways reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s call to restore manufacturing’s prominent role in the economy. The report makes no reference to Trump or his call for a manufacturing renaissance. But...

Survey: US August factory activity at 6-plus year high

Survey: US August factory activity at 6-plus year high

Sep 6, 2017

By Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer, ABC News U.S. factories expanded at a brisk pace in August, a likely sign of strength for the U.S. economy as new orders, production and employment all improved. The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 58.8 percent last month from 56.3 percent in July. Anything above 50 signals that factory activity is increasing. The measure now stands at its highest level since April 2011, pointing to solid economic growth. Fourteen of eighteen manufacturing industries surveyed by ISM posted growth in August, including the machinery, petroleum and coal products, and computer and electronic products sectors. August was “a really strong month,” Timothy Fiore, chair of ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee, said in a telephone interview. He noted that the growth was mostly driven by the top manufacturing sectors. It’s early to predict the impact on the oil, gas and chemical industries and on the broader economy of Hurricane Harvey. But Fiore said a snap survey of ISM members showed there likely will be a significant hit to the petroleum and chemical products sectors and “lots of supply chain disruptions.” Refining capacity, raw materials and the ability to deliver products all have been drastically affected by the storm that lashed Houston and nearby areas and shut down oil refineries, plastics plants and the Houston port — the second-busiest in the nation. There have been widespread reports of gasoline shortages. The chemical products sector is one of the six biggest manufacturing industries, accounting for 17 percent of total activity, Fiore noted. Petroleum and coal, also among the “Big Six,” account for 7 percent. Texas represents more than 10 percent of U.S. manufacturing production. Chemical products refining in the state accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. total, and oil and gas represents 30 percent. U.S. factories have largely recovered from a slump in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets. Manufacturing employment began a sustained turnaround in December and enjoyed four additional months of job gains, only to have factories shed 1,000 workers in May. New government data issued Friday...

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more…

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more…

Aug 30, 2017

“After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople” By Matt Krupnick, The Hechinger Report FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion. Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages. It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages. Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it. “It’s a cultural rebuild,” said Randy Emery, a welding instructor at the College of the Sequoias in California’s Central Valley. Standing in a cavernous teaching lab full of industrial equipment on the college’s Tulare campus, Emery said the decades-long national push for high school graduates to get bachelor’s degrees left vocational programs with an image problem, and the nation’s factories with far fewer skilled workers than needed. “I’m a survivor of that teardown mode of the ’70s and ’80s, that college-for-all thing,” he said. This has had the unintended consequence of helping flatten out or steadily erode the share of students taking vocational courses. In California’s community colleges, for instance, it’s dropped to 28 percent from 31 percent since 2000, contributing to a shortage of trained workers with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Research by the state’s 114-campus community college system showed that families and employers alike didn’t know of the existence or value of vocational programs and the certifications they confer, many of which can add tens of thousands of dollars per year to a graduate’s income. “All throughout high school, they made it sound like going to college was our only option.” Derrick Roberson, who is training to...