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  Data and Reports

Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Research and Reports Main Page

The impact of regulations and policies on the manufacturing industry in areas such as tax, energy, trade, and the legal environment

Featured Reports:

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Leadership Wanted U.S. Public Opinions on Manufacturing

October 2012
Categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

This annual research program was created to provide a running view of the U.S. public’s perspectives on manufacturing to supplement the many other research reports and perspectives of economists, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders that have important points of view relevant to this discussion.


regulatory & federalwhitelineFifty Ways to Leave Your Competitiveness Woes Behind: A National Traded Sector Competitiveness Strategy
September 2012
Categories: Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

This first report lays out the “Top 50” recommendations Congress and the Administration should implement concerning the "4Ts" of technology, tax, trade, and talent to revitalize the United States’ manufacturing and broader traded sector competitiveness. The report also includes a comprehensive list of “4T” recommendations for U.S. states.

The Myth of America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Real State of U.S. Manufacturing - January 2015
Conditions for U.S. manufacturing are certainly better than they were a decade ago, as employment and output are both growing, albeit slowly. Despite this improvement, there is not yet evidence to support the notion of a U.S. manufacturing "renaissance." As a new ITIF report shows, the data do not support such a rosy scenario.  Much of the growth since the recession’s lows was just a cyclical recovery instead of real structural growth that will improve long-term conditions, and there is a strong possibility that manufacturing will once again decline once domestic demand recovers. This new report addresses and refutes many misconceptions on the state of manufacturing today. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Global Competitiveness, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Understanding and Maximizing America’s Evolutionary Economy - October 2014
In the conventional view, economies are static entities, changing principally only in size. But in reality, economies are constantly evolving complex ecosystems. The U.S. economy of 2014 is different, not just larger, than the economy of 2013. Understanding that we are dealing with an evolutionary rather than static economy has significant implications for the conceptualization of both economics and economic policy. This book provides an overview of evolutionary economic thought, explains the three dominant drivers of U.S. economic evolution and lays out eight key principles to guide evolutionary-based economic policy making. Categories: Federal and Industry Collaboration, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Shale Gas:  A Game Changer for U.S. Manufacturing - July 2014
A country is only as strong as its capacity to build. Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and food. This report summarizes and expands upon the University of Michigan-sponsored daylong Symposium “Shale Gas: A Game- Changer for American Manufacturing,” held on March 28, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Symposium’s purpose: to explore how the shale gas boom can be used to the best advantage of U.S. manufacturing. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Capital and Cost, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Sustainability

The U.S. Manufacturing Base: Four Signs of Strength - June 2014
"This Policy Brief examines data that are more recent and more detailed than data previously used to refute the claims of US manufacturing weakness and present new evidence of its strength and breadth.  This Policy Brief updates a 2013 PIIE study by Robert Lawrence and Lawrence Edwards.  The results focus on four empirical investigations pointing to the growing strength of US manufacturing, and, in many cases, refuting or updating previous claims. The 4 Signs of Strength: manufacturing output growth, U.S. Manufacturing competitive performance relative to other sectors of the U.S. economy, U.S. Manufacturing productivity growth relative to other countries, and new evidence of outward expansion by U.S. MNCS and economic activity by those same firms at home. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Productivity

The Role of Exports in the United States Economy - May 2014
In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) as part of a government-wide strategy to promote exports. During the ensuing years, as the U.S. recovered from the economic downturn in the “Great Recession,” the growth in U.S. exports has been one of the major success stories in the U.S. economy. Since 2009, exports have helped pull the U.S. economy out of the devastating recession that occurred between 2007 and 2009. Exports have contributed more to the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in this recovery than in the previous recovery; have helped support millions of high-paying jobs in the U.S.; and have been responsible for major contributions to the economic performance of many states and metropolitan areas. Moving forward, exports will continue to make important contributions to the U.S. economy and the NEI/NEXT is structured to do more to help U.S. manufacturers, farmers, workers and innovators sell Made-in-America products and services world-wide to the benefit of our economy. Categories: Capital and Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Productivity

One Small Step for Energy Efficiency: Targeting Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers- January 2014
The manufacturing sector accounts for about a third of primary energy consumed in the United States. This sector is increasingly relied on to generate energy savings to meet efficiency targets set by states and energy utilities. While most of that effort has sought savings from large manufacturers (the 10% of establishments that account for close to 50% of energy use), more energy efficiency programs are beginning to address the needs facing small to medium-sized manufacturers (SMM). This report discusses barriers, opportunities, and solutions to designing energy efficiency programs that result in significant savings from smaller manufacturers. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Best Practices, Sustainability

Trends in technology-based Economic Development: Local, State, and Federal Action - January 2014
Investing in activities that support the creation and expansion of high-growth companies and jobs is at the forefront of technology-based economic development (TBED). TBED fosters a climate where new and existing companies that develop technology and continuously innovate will thrive. Understanding the trends that are affecting and influencing TBED can help guide investment priorities for practitioners and policymakers across the nation.  Each year, SSTI takes a look back at the past year’s activities in TBED and examines the environment to illustrate trends and put it all into perspective. This report includes a compilation of examples in thematic areas from across the country. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

A Clarion Call: A Look Back and a Path Forward - November 2013
The Clarion Call, A Look Back and a Path Forward provides a federal policy “report card” of actions (and lack of actions) since the Council issued a clear and concise agenda to policymakers last year, which included a road map to grow the American economy and included core principles and recommendations critical for the United States’ long term economic growth and job creation. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Are Robots Taking Our Jobs, Or Making Them? - September 2013
This report analyzes the “robots are killing our jobs” arguments, shows how they are constructed on faulty analysis, examines the extensive economic literature on the relationship between employment and productivity, and explains the logic of how higher productivity leads to more jobs. The report shows that more technology benefits not just the economy overall, but also workers: more and better technology is essential to U.S. competitiveness and higher living standards. The claim that increased productivity eliminates jobs is misguided speculation. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Productivity

Advanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development - September 2013
This report focuses on both the economic and policy analysis associated with advanced manufacturing. The following key conclusions emerge regarding state policy and advanced manufacturing: States play a central role in promoting economic development and industrialization; This is a new era of industrial development for the SGA states; State policy in support of the advanced manufacturing sector must be carefully coordinated with other public and private entities that seek to promote economic development in order to maximize returns for state residents and the business community; A strategy for fostering the growth of advanced manufacturing should be based on carefully developed strategic plans that build on SWOT assessments of state assets and needs and include quantifiable goals and objectives. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Capital and Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Global Manufacturing: Foreign Government Programs Differ in some Key Respects from those in the United States- August 2013
Over the last decade, the United States lost about one-third of its manufacturing jobs, raising concerns about U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. There may be insights to glean from government policies of similarly-situated countries, which are facing some of the same challenges of increased competition in manufacturing from developing countries. At the request of the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified innovative foreign programs that support manufacturing that may help inform U.S. policy. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal & Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Manufacturing Productivity, Through the Great Recession: What Does It Mean for the Future? - June 2013
Manufacturing has been one of the major bright spots in the economic recovery of the last few years, but this report notes that the importance of manufacturing to the economy is not uniform across the U.S. as manufacturing industries are concentrated in certain locations. This study examines county-level data to assess the importance of manufacturing in local economies throughout the U.S. and find that, although almost all states include some counties where manufacturing accounts for a significant share of jobs and earnings, such counties are concentrated in the Midwest and the South, are more likely to be outside metropolitan areas, and are relatively small. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Capital and Cost, Productivity

Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy - December 2012
There is ongoing interest in the pace of U.S. technological advancement due to its influence on U.S. economic growth, productivity, and international competitiveness. Because technology can contribute to economic growth and productivity increases, congressional attention has focused on how to augment private-sector technological development. Legislative activity over the past 30 or more years has created a policy for technology development, albeit an ad hoc one. Because of the lack of consensus on the scope and direction of a national policy, Congress has taken an incremental approach aimed at creating new mechanisms to facilitate technological advancement in particular areas and making changes and improvements as necessary. This paper focuses on technology and competitiveness, the federal role in technology development, legislative initiatives, and current technology development programs. Categories: Global Competitiveness, Innovation, Federal and Industry Collaboration

Cooperative R&D: Federal Efforts to Promote Industrial Competitiveness - December 2012
In response to the foreign challenge in the global marketplace, the United States Congress has explored ways to stimulate technological advancement in the private sector. This paper examines the government's various efforts to promote cooperative research and development activities among industry, universities, and the federal R&D establishment designed to increase the competitiveness of American industry and to encourage the generation of new products, processes, and services. Given the increased popularity of cooperative programs, the paper looks at questions that might be raised as to whether the programs are meeting expectations. Among the issues before Congress are whether joint ventures contribute to industrial competitiveness and what role, if any, the government has in facilitating such arrangements. Categories: Global Competitiveness, Innovation, Federal and Industry Collaboration

Technology Transfer: Use of Federally Funded - December 2012
This paper focuses on technology transfer to the private sector, as well as to local and state governments, and the rationale for federal interest and involvement. Current federal efforts to promote technology transfer is also examined, as well as a look at the small business technology transfer program and patenting. At issue is whether incentives for technology transfer remain necessary, if additional legislative initiatives are needed to encourage increased technology transfer, or if the responsibility to use the available resources now rests with the private sector. Categories: Innovation, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Capital and Cost

Why America Needs A National Network for Manufacturing Innovation - December 2012
This paper discusses why America needs a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Part one of the paper makes the case for an innovation-centered national manufacturing policy. It lays out key challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing sector, advances reasons why the nation should care about manufacturing, and sets forth the rationale for an active federal role in fostering manufacturing innovation. Part two of the paper articulates five key principles that should govern the design of the NNMI. These principles include: focus on innovation challenges, support for the full innovation process, collaboration among academia, a bottom-up competitive process, managed by the federal government, and a private-public co-investment. Categories: Innovation, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Capital and Cost

2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index - November 2012
This study, gathering data from more than 550 CEOs and senior manufacturing leaders in 2012, is part of a multi-year initiative to better understand the trends creating a hyper-competitive global manufacturing environment. The report examines the highly complex forces driving the future of manufacturing and many of the structural changes reshaping the global economy.  Overall, the study indicates that leading nations are making the paradigm shift towards prioritizing the development of talented and skilled citizens, who are the source of their competitive advantage, and benefits from their manufacturing infrastructures and ecosystems.  Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce

Our Plan for American Manufacturing - November 2012
1-pager Focus on expanding American production, hiring, and capital expenditures; infrastructure investment; workforce development; trade; and innovation.

2012 Manufacturing Distribution Monitor Report - September 2012
Following a relatively positive year for sales performance and expansion, middle-market manufacturers and distributors are largely optimistic about their own businesses. Yet they are grappling with a variety of challenges that include eroding confidence in economic conditions, struggles with finding a skilled workforce, and uncertainty about government legislation. According to the 2012 McGladrey Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor report, executives of midsize companies find themselves in an uncertain business landscape. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce

Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing - July 2012
The report was prepared by the 18-member steering committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). It addresses needs in three broad categories: enabling innovation; securing the talent pipeline; improving the business climate. The recommendations include a call to establish a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes; an emphasis on investment in community college training of the advanced manufacturing workforce; an approach to evaluate platform manufacturing technologies for collaborative investment; a plan to reinvigorate the image of manufacturing in America; and proposals for trade, tax, regulatory, and energy policies that would level the global playing field for domestic manufacturers. Categories: Global Competitiveness, Innovation, Capital and Cost, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce

Interactive Manufacturing Locator - May 2012
This report offers a comprehensive analysis of the metropolitan geography of U.S. manufacturing. Some of the main findings: 1)Metropolitan areas, especially large metropolitan areas and central metropolitan counties, contain the great majority of manufacturing jobs and nearly all very high technology manufacturing jobs, reflecting the advantages they provide to manufacturing in general and very high-technology manufacturing in particular. 2)U.S. metropolitan areas have become increasingly specialized in manufacturing since 1980, but they vary widely in their manufacturing activities and focuses. 3)Manufacturing in most metropolitan areas follows one or more of six broad patterns of industry cleaning. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Global Competitiveness

Greater Portland Export Plan: Metro Export Initiative - March 2012
The Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI) is a ground-up collaborative effort to help regional civic, business, and political leaders—with their states—create and implement customized Metropolitan Export Plans (MEPs). Greater Portland has a global reputation when it comes to advanced urban planning, leading edge sustainability, and a high quality of life for its citizens. Ninety percent of exports and export growth come from the top 10 exporting industries in the region including: manufacturing (computer and electronics, primary metals, machinery, and transportation), royalties, professional services, and travel and tourism. Categories: Global Competitiveness

Manufacturing Growth, Advanced Manufacturing and the Future of the American Economy - February 2012
Manufacturing isn't dying--it's changing. Manufacturing is transitioning from low-tech, labor-intensive industries toward a manufacturing sector that is tech-intensive, high-productivity and innovation (termed as new manufacturing). Highlights creation of comparative advantage, new workforce, America as leaders rather than followers, new manufacturing national policy, etc. Mentions MEP (p14) Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness

Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation - November 2011
This report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today and how it will probably evolve over the coming decade.  Findings in the report include:  manufacturing's changing role, manufacturing is not monolithic, and the new dynamic phase of manufacturing. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce, Best Practices, Supply Chain

2012 Facts About Manufacturing - October 2011
The 2012 Edition of the Facts of Manufacturing is a collection of the key facts and figures that define the state of the U.S. manufacturing industry.  The report provides 65 figures that show the importance of the manufacturing sector and challenges that our industry faces.  The first section of the report focuses on the importance of U.S. manufacturing in relation to economic growth, employment, the environment, and trade/investment.  Section two focuses on current and future challenges in U.S. manufacturing related to competitiveness, innovation, a skilled workforce and trade. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce, Sustainability

Manufacturing's Wake-Up Call - August 2011
A new study shows how the decisions made today by goods producers and policymakers will shape U.S. competitiveness tomorrow. Key recommendations: 1) Attract best workers 2) Invest in high impact clusters 3)Build a future with Mexico 4) simplify and streamline the tax and regulatory structure. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce, Productivity

Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing - June 2011
Recommendations include: launch an advanced manufacturing strategy; improve tax policy; improve research; support research; strengthen the workforce

Growth Through Innovation:  Building a Long-Term Strategy for Growth through Innovation - May 2011
History has amply demonstrated that innovation in the public and private sectors is the most important key to long-term U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. Yet in the United States today, innovation is at risk of stalling just at a time when rising international competition is on the upswing and the U.S. economy is still reeling from a deep recession.  Priorities for action start with turning three deficits—budget, investment/savings and trade—into surpluses.  This will require action by the public sector—to provide tax credits for innovation and more forward-thinking trade policies, for example—and the private sector, including businesses, universities and private research firms that reward education and job skills. Categories: Innovation, Capital and Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy - April 2011
Best report around for understanding the historical manufacturing challenges and why we need a national strategy to address them. Categories: Current State of Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness

Ignite 1.0: Voice of American CEOs on Manufacturing Competitiveness - January 2011
Interviews with CEO’s (of predominantly large firms) identified 27 recommendations across major areas including: tax policy; energy policy; trade policy; regulatory and legal environment; science and technology goals; infrastructure investments; access to talent; and science and technology education. Categories: Global Competitiveness, Education and Workforce

The Manufacturing Mandate: A National Manufacturing Strategy to Help Rebuild and Strengthen the U.S. Manufacturing Sector - August 2010
Quick and easy read provides a consensus scan of trade associations that focuses on: Incentivize innovation and R&D; assure availability of capital; increase Global Competitiveness; minimize structural cost burdens; enhance collaboration; “smartforce” for talent. Categories: Innovation, Capital and Cost, Global Competitiveness, Federal and Industry Collaboration, Education and Workforce

Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index - June 2010
Indexes ten global manufacturing competitiveness factors viewed across a variety of nations. Top five U.S. factors are: talent driv