State policies help revitalize U.S. manufacturing sector

More can be done at the state level to encourage growth in U.S. manufacturing, according to a recent presentation by Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). In the presentation, held earlier this month at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) summer meeting, Atkinson suggested that there is a role for state policymakers to address each of the four T’s related to sound manufacturing policy: trade, tax, technology, and talent.

US opinion of manufacturing more favorable

In its latest survey of U.S. public perception of manufacturing, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that the majority of Americans surveyed (roughly 8 in 10) view manufacturing as vital to maintaining economic prosperity in the country, but less than 5 in 10 find those jobs interesting or secure, and less than 3 in 10 would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career. However, respondents also said they believe future manufacturing jobs will require high-tech skills, be clean, safe and more innovative. That opportunity to build on the positive perceptions already present and dispelling the myths surrounding manufacturing jobs are explored in A look ahead; How modern manufacturers can create positive perceptions with the US public. The authors note that with such findings, “manufacturers could benefit from uplifting current perceptions and tapping into the future vision in order to help attract talent, both young and old, to the industry.”

Manufacturing resurgence needs smart supply chain

Restoring America’s competitive edge requires a new approach to managing suppliers, one where all the players are connected, collaborative, and focused on maximizing shared value – a “smart supply chain” – says a new report from MForesight. SSTI spoke with Tom Mahoney, one of the report’s authors and associate director at MForesight, who said that if steps are not taken to move the supply chain in the right direction, or if funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership is eliminated as has been proposed in the White House’s budget, the outlook for manufacturing will be poor. Ensuring American Manufacturing Leadership Through Next-Generation Supply Chains, by Mahoney and Susan Helper, provides insight into the current challenges and opportunities facing supply chain management in U.S. manufacturing and provides recommendations for regaining a competitive edge. 

Research highlights declining auto industry, manufacturing next?

In a recent post, the Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro raises concerns about the U.S. manufacturing sector’s health due to the leading indicators of slowed growth in both auto sector output and auto manufacturing employment. Muro contends that these slowdowns are driven by plateaued consumer demand and automakers investing billions in developing technologies necessary for electric and self-driving cars.

US manufacturing sector poised for revitalization but without the jobs, McKinsey says

In Making it in America, McKinsey Global Institute researchers contend that for the U.S. to see a revitalization of its manufacturing sector (as measured by global market share), the public and private sectors should treat it as a national priority. However, they warn that the revitalization will not produce a return to 1960s-style manufacturing employment. In the 1960s, the manufacturing sector employed approximately 30 percent of all American workers – it is down to approximately 9 percent today (a 70 percent reduction). The authors contend that due to the changing shape of manufacturing, technology, global competition, and other market demands that manufacturing job growth would only be modest. Most of the job growth potential will be found in other sectors that would benefit from increased economic activity.

Facing deindustrialization, smaller regions turn to innovation, workforce development

In a recent Digest article, SSTI covered research highlighting the oversized role that offshoring multinationals had in manufacturing employment decline from 1983 to 2011. During this time, deindustrialization and manufacturing unemployment had a profound impact on community approaches to economic development.

DOC leadership pivotal to collaboration on Manufacturing USA, GAO finds

While the Department of Commerce (DOC) has incorporated several key practices for enhancing and sustaining interagency collaboration around the Manufacturing USA network, the agency needs to develop a better a governance system that outlines the responsibilities and role of non-sponsoring agencies (e.g. Department of Labor, Department of Education) in the network, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report makes recommendations to DOC with the intent of increasing the involvement of non-sponsoring agencies in helping support the 11 innovation institutes that comprise the Manufacturing USA network.

Recent Research: Multinationals, deindustrialization, and regional economic development

Much has been written – both here and elsewhere – about the role of trade and automation in declining U.S. manufacturing employment. Recently released preliminary research published by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies finds U.S. multinationals were responsible for a disproportionate share of manufacturing employment declines from 1993 to 2011. These results underscore the challenges facing economic development in deindustrializing regions, particularly those reliant on the branch plant economy.

Upjohn: Every $1 invested in Manufacturing Extension Partnership program yields nearly $9 in return

A recent study by the W.E. Upjohn Institute finds that the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program generates a substantial economic and financial return on investment for the federal government. The $130 million invested in MEP during FY2016 by the federal government generated more than $1.1 billion in increased federal personal income tax, a ROI of roughly 8.7:1, according to Upjohn.

Additive manufacturing roadmap released to create industry standards

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have released Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing (Version 1.0) to help coordinate and accelerate the development of industry-wide additive manufacturing standards and specifications. In the roadmap, the authors highlight 89 gaps – 19 of which are high priority – where no published standard or specification currently exists to addr


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