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Despite Economic Troubles, Public Remains Committed to Manufacturing Sector

September 14, 2011

Most American (86 percent of survey respondents) believe manufacturing is "either important" or "very important" to our national economy, according to a new survey from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. Topped only by the energy industry, manufacturing finished as the second most important industry to the national economy. Manufacturing also was the preferred industry for regional job creation through the establishment of a new manufacturing facility—ahead of energy production facilities, technology development centers, retail centers, banks or other financial institutions, and a host of other facility types. The report also found that Americans believe the U.S manufacturing sector has several competitive advantages upon which to build including:

  • The availability and use of technology;
  • Domestic R&D capabilities;
  • A skilled and productive workforce; and,
  • Domestic natural resources and infrastructure.

Americans, however, do not show significant confidence in the sector's long-term health. Fifty-five percent of respondents believe that manufacturing will weaken over the longer term. According to the report, the perceived lack of three factors (i.e., a competitiveness strategy, business policies and overall leadership) drag down the otherwise positive views of and strong support for manufacturing in this country. Respondents also believe that high healthcare costs, high energy costs, and a domestic education system in need of reform are challenges that must be addressed to create a more competitive manufacturing sector.

To resolve the factors weakening the manufacturing industry, Americans contend that policymakers must adopt stronger policies to support domestic manufactures. However, they are divided on the right approach. Many respondents believe that tax policy is an important tool to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness with 69 percent of respondents "agree" or "strongly agree" that tax cuts for businesses and individuals create jobs and 65 percent of respondents "agree" or "strongly agree" that tax incentives for manufacturing in the U.S. enhances competitiveness. The report was written using survey data from 1,000 people from across the country. Read the report...

manufacturing, policy recommendations