Manufacturing has a leading role in the U.S. economy—but there is still a great deal more to do. That was the message at this year’s NAM State of Manufacturing Address from NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.
Timmons spoke to a gathering of manufacturing team members and the media at Husco in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In his remarks, he laid out the NAM’s view of where the industry is and where it’s going.
The program: The event began with a message from Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, followed by an introduction from NAM board member Austin Ramirez, president and CEO of global engineering and manufacturing company Husco.
- “Wisconsin manufacturers contribute to the vitality of our state through their innovation, productivity and commitment to customer satisfaction,” said Bauer. “While we face many challenges, we are also in the enviable position of controlling our destiny—as long as we work together to create a shared vision of prosperity and an action plan to achieve it.”
- “We are here to shine a light on the amazing, life-changing work that manufacturers do every day,” said Ramirez. “We are the backbone of the American economy, and we are proud of it.”
The state of manufacturing: Timmons spoke about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the importance of the manufacturing industry’s support for the Ukrainian people and the larger struggle between freedom and tyranny.
- “Despite everything happening around us, like the threat of a recession and global conflict, manufacturers are still leading the way forward,” said Timmons.
- “And although our industry and our country will need to make audacious and sometimes uncomfortable changes to adapt to economic, political and global challenges … I’m confident in reporting that the state of manufacturing in America remains steadfast and resolute.”
Manufacturing solutions: Timmons cited a variety of manufacturing challenges, then detailed the NAM’s plans to fight for manufacturers across the United States.
- Supporting immigration: “For so many manufacturers in America right now, there are more open jobs than there are people to fill them,” said Timmons. “One of the many ways we fill those jobs and keep our economy moving is welcoming immigrants into our workforce … just like we have in the past to build a stronger, more prosperous America.”
- Promoting permitting reform: “Permitting reform means making it easier to get permission to build that new road or power plant, or for manufacturers to build new facilities,” said Timmons. “If Washington could just cut through the bureaucracy and streamline processes, like you do in your businesses every single day, we could do more for this country.”
- Fighting for tax fixes: “The NAM is determined to get Congress to restore incentives for R&D and get our business tax rates and structure back on track to enable us to compete globally,” he said. “And then, let’s lock in competitive rates for small businesses … so that you can plan confidently for the future.”
- Competing with China: “If we’re going to counter China, then we must hold China accountable for the trade commitments it has already made to the U.S.,” said Timmons. “And we have to forge ambitious, cutting-edge trade agreements with our allies. Other countries aren’t waiting around. So, let’s think big. And let’s be bold.”
- Pushing back on new EPA rules: “We’re going to tell the EPA that manufacturers are already leading [in cleaning] our air,” said Timmons. “The government shouldn’t enact rules that, however well-intentioned, would make it more difficult to achieve our environmental goals, slow our economic growth and push us closer toward recession.”
The last word: “History shows us that as long as manufacturers lead the way, America and our democracy will remain that beacon of freedom and hope for people around the world,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers have been, and always will be, in word and deed, the arsenal of democracy. And working together, I know we will keep making this a manufacturing decade.”