Improving the strength of U.S. industry in the global economy

February 10, 2012

A significant amount of attention has been given to the state of U.S. manufacturing, as the global competition for high-tech jobs has increased over the past several years. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that there are several ways that America can remain ahead in the industry.

According to the news outlet, one of the major issues for competing with China and other markets is labor standards. Other countries have lower wage rates and fewer regulations to protect workers that may attract investment from companies, but the U.S. can rely on innovation to keep manufacturing work in America.

The Chronicle reported that leaders in the U.S. need to adopt a new tax code for companies, like the one suggested by the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Tax Reform. This would help corporations keep manufacturing jobs in the country by promoting the hiring of Americans.

The creation of regional economic development partnerships has proven to be successful in attracting companies from the U.S. and abroad to expand domestic manufacturing operations or bring jobs back from overseas plants. According to the news outlet, this allows different municipalities to work as one unit for the prosperity of the region.

Though improvements in the sector can be made, it is important to note how successful U.S. manufacturing has been.

Laura D'Andrea Tyson, a professor from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in The New York Times that manufacturing is on the rebound in the U.S., as the last two years have seen the sector grow by 10 percent and add more than 300,000 jobs.

Tyson noted that regional and national policies to strengthen the sector would lead to further expansion, and bolster the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. She spoke to the decline in the value of the dollar, increasing supply-chain coordination, rising transportation costs and strong productivity growth in American manufacturing as reasons that domestic production was increasing.

According to the article, manufacturing jobs are high-productivity, high valued-added jobs with good pay and good benefits, and this has helped to bolster the U.S. sector further.

The National Associated of Manufacturers reported that manufacturing supports an estimated 18.6 million jobs in the U.S., comprises 11.2 percent of the U.S. GDP and that U.S. manufacturers are "the most productive workers in the world—twice as productive as workers in the next 10 leading manufacturing economies."