2022 Manufacturers' Summit celebrates manufacturing; highlights opportunities and challenges
The state of manufacturing in the U.S.
Recently, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce celebrated Manufacturing Month with its annual Manufacturers’ Summit. Manufacturing leaders from across the state heard from renowned speakers like Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Michael Happe, President and CEO of Winnebago Industries.
And there was plenty of good news to celebrate during Manufacturing Month. “Manufacturers have now recovered all of the jobs the industry lost at the start of the pandemic, and then some, and that's quite an accomplishment," said Timmons. “There are now more than 12.8 million people working in manufacturing nationwide.” He went on to share how three-quarters of manufacturers still have a positive outlook for their companies.
But with a workforce shortage, high inflation, supply chain disruptions and more, manufacturers are also wary of what’s to come.
“Supply chains are still strained, although we're seeing a little bit of thawing happening, that makes it harder to move products,” said Timmons. “Inflation continues to soar. We saw the news today that inflation is still bumping up. Then of course, global instability, especially Russia's war on Ukraine…We're also facing a workforce crisis. Yes, we have 12.8 million people working in the sector, but we have a whole lot more jobs that are open. Research from the Manufacturing Institute, along with Deloitte, shows that our industry is going to need more than 4 million jobs nationwide by the end of this decade.”
These challenges make it essential for policymakers to recognize the importance of manufacturing’s contributions to the American economy.
“We need Americans to know that when lawmakers listen to manufacturers, our country actually moves in the right direction,” said Timmons. “When lawmakers take up a bill or a policy change, we want them to ask a very simple question. Does this help make manufacturers in the United States more competitive?”
Timmons laid out two main ways lawmakers can put manufacturers in a position to succeed: pass long term, comprehensive immigration reform and streamline the cumbersome regulatory process.
“We know that there are serious economic consequences because of this broken (immigration) system," said Timmons. "Research and development, which is the cornerstone of innovation and our industry's success, depends on access to the best and the brightest from all across the world. The broken immigration status quo is also preventing us from growing our talent pool. And that results in leaving jobs unfilled.”
Timmons explained how excessive regulatory policy is too costly, especially for manufacturers, and hinders their growth potential.
“Policymakers can also help by streamlining regulatory policy in general,” said Timmons. “The annual regulatory cost burden for the average United States firm represents about 21% of its payroll. And for manufacturers, that number's even higher. For small manufacturers, that number's around 35% per employee. That's an amazing cost burden.”
“Manufacturers support smart, sensible regulation to protect our health, our workplaces and our environment,” added Timmons. “But the more time and resources that manufacturers spend on the compliance burden every single year, the less we can spend solving our greatest challenges.”
In Minnesota, manufacturers are working on these same issues at the Capitol. At the event, the Minnesota Chamber announced the formation of the Minnesota Manufacturers' Council. This group of manufacturers will look to tackle big issues facing the industry like the workforce shortage and environmental permitting. Click here to learn more.
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2022 Manufacturers' Summit attendee testimonial
Every aspect was great. The premier manufacturing appreciation event of the year.
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