If you follow politics at all, you will know that manufacturing is becoming a buzzword not only in the current presidential campaign but also on Capitol Hill itself. Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin have spearheaded a group called Manufacturing Jobs for America to focus on the acceleration of manufacturing jobs and production in the US.
For those of us in the industry, manufacturing has never really gone away in spite of the doomsday prophesying of many of the political pundits. Headlines over the past few decades have warned of the demise of our sector. Offshoring of manufacturing production increased the handwringing. While it’s true that manufacturing jobs in the U.S. peaked in 1979, what’s not widely known is that production hit an all-time peak in 2007. And we’re close to hitting that peak again.
Image from Forbes Magazine
The purpose of Manufacturing Jobs for America is focused on four themes:
- Strengthening America’s 21st century workforce
- Opening markets abroad
- Creating conditions necessary for growth
- Expanding access to capital
This is good news for the world of manufacturing, especially in the areas of the workforce and manufacturing growth. Because many manufacturers struggle to find skilled labor to fill vital positions, it’s imperative that we have programs in place on local and national levels to help develop our labor force. Additionally, growth is important so that we can continue to maintain or increase production levels to ensure that our businesses remain relevant in the coming centuries.
What does this mean for the nonwovens market? As a whole, the demand for nonwovens will continue to increase in the coming decades as technology improves and product innovation incorporates more nonwovens into products consumers use every day. In order to support that growth, manufacturing partners in the nonwovens industry will need expanded access to skilled labor, world markets, tax credits and reinvestments and other initiatives designed to support industry growth.
Manufacturing is making the news today in a positive way. Those of us in the industry know all the benefits of manufacturing and its impact on the U.S. economy. It’s nice to see that everyone else is catching up.