Manufacturing Policy and the Economy

In early February, the federal government released two studies showing a rise in the productivity of the U.S. manufacturing industry.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics found a 2.6% increase in output per hour worked and the Census Bureau report showed that U.S. factory orders for machinery and communications equipment rose for the fifth time in six months.  New technologies and the production of goods high up the value chain have helped buoy the U.S. share of the world manufacturing output around 20%, only slightly less than its 21% share in 1991.

Further competitiveness in the export market will rely on the United States maintaining an edge in high-end goods and continuing to host an agile economic system.  In keeping with this effort U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Scott Brown recently introduced the bipartisan “Innovate America Act” as part of a legislative push to establish a foundation for stable growth in the American economy, in part through manufacturing policy.  The bill encourages Research & Development, invests in manufacturing assistance, removes regulatory barriers for top exporting industries, and focuses on technology-transfer as an integral driver for growth.

After being named to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, GE CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt said that manufacturing could be key to our recovery, saying “Ultimately, to create manufacturing jobs, we’ve got to be innovating and we’ve got to be exporting.”

Posted by: John Coit

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, cnn.com, hometownsource.com, MSNBC , United Nations Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau News

Photo Credit: Factory, posted by flickr user elite pete

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