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Research and Reports Main Page

 

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Current State of Manufacturing

Challenges and opportunities facing U.S. manufacturers in today’s competitive environment, plus national strategies and current best practices.


Featured Reports:

AM_SouthwhitelineAdvanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development
September 2013
Category: Current State of MFG, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

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.

 

State of ManufacturingwhitelineOn the Threshold: Refocusing U.S. Export Assistance Strategy for Manufacturers
June 2013
Category: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Supply Chain

This report offers observations and recommendations on how to increase small and mid-size manufacturers (SMMs) SMMs’ contribution to manufacturing exports; and answers questions related to: the importance of exporting to SMMs with the greatest export growth potential, types of assistance exporters need, the importance of innovation and supply chain for growing exports, and export assistance in a a limited funding environment. The report is in support of a major joint research efforts undertaken by MEP and the U.S.Commercial Service.



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.
Other Categories:Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & CostFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Sustainability

Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America's Manufacturing Workforce- July 2014
In this report, the Hope Street Group frames the systemic challenges that currently discourage able young people from entering manufacturing career tracks. To do so, they interviewed a select group of American manufacturing employers, high school and college-aged youth, education professionals, and nonprofit organizers. The report shares their stories and synthesizes them into common themes, supported by secondary research.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Education & Workforce,

Manufacturing Since the Great Recession - June 2014
This report provides an overview of the renewed expansion in manufacturing, examining output, international trade, and the labor market. The steady growth across all three of these areas might have seemed like wishful thinking just a few years ago when manufacturing was hit especially hard. Since the last recession, however, manufacturing output and exports have surpassed their pre-recession levels, and employment has begun to grow again for the first time since 1998. Nonetheless, while the manufacturing expansion is robust, it has not been even across manufacturing industries and the states. Other categories: Current State of MFGGlobal CompetitivenessEducation & Workforce, Productivity

MAKING IN AMERICA:   U.S. Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Innovation - June 2014
The White House report, Making in America: U.S. Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Innovation, demonstrates how new game-changing technologies are reducing the cost, increasing the speed, and making it easier for entrepreneurs and manufacturers to translate new ideas into products Made in America.  These new technologies are already having an impact, with the growth rate in manufacturing entrepreneurship at its fastest pace in over 20 years. Other categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce

Building a Nation of Makers:  Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of America's Manufacturing SMEs - June 2014
This report offers innovative, non-partisan, actionable ideas on how to create middle-class manufacturing jobs.  The focus of this report is on six ideas on how to accelerate the innovative capacity of American manufacturing’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ideas include providing a more flexible education system, certification programs, and access to financing and technology.
Other categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Education & Workforce

Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook: Preparing for the Manufacturing Renaissance in America - May 2014
The Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook offers strategies and programs that have been successfully employed by industry, education and government to collaboratively solve the challenges of preparing workers for 21st century careers in manufacturing. Edited by manufacturing workforce authority Keith Campbell, with contributions from over 20 experts, this resource brings together relevant data, case studies and expert insights about educating and training operators, technicians and technologists for America’s manufacturing renaissance.  To view the report, registration is required.  Just complete the form and instantly receive your free copy of the PDF edition. When you hit submit, you’ll have a choice of “opening” or “saving” the file.  Hit save and the PDF downloads directly to where ever your download folder resides.  The PDF file is not e-mailed.
Other categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce,

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.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & 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.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & 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.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

ThomasNet Industry Market Barometer®- September 2013
ThomasNet.com's Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) is an annual survey of buyers and sellers of products and services in the industrial market. Respondents are engineers and purchasing agents, business owners and managers, and sales and marketing executives from manufacturers, distributors and service companies. ThomasNet.com's® 2013 Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) survey of more than 1,200 manufacturers paints a picture of a sector that is reinventing itself every day. These companies are growing, expecting future growth, hiring, and increasing their production capacity to meet additional demand. This report discusses barriers, opportunities, and solutions to designing energy efficiency programs that result in significant savings from smaller manufacturers.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation,Global Competitiveness,Education & Workforce, Productivity

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.
Other categories:Current State of MFG, Innovation, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations ,Productivity

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.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal & Industry Collaboration, Education & 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.
Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Productivity

The Geographic Concentration of Manufacturing Across the United States - January 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.
Other Categories: Education & Workforce

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.
Other Categories: Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

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 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.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

International Benchmarking of Countries’ Policies and Programs Supporting SME Manufacturers - June 2012
Provides numerous examples of best practice in one or more of ten competitor nations in the areas of: technology acceleration programs and practice; technology acceleration funding mechanisms; next generation manufacturing technical assistance; and connectors. The comparison matrix on p.6 is an indicative summary of what can be found throughout the report.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Best Practices

Global Manufacturing Outlook: Fostering Growth through Innovation - June 2012
While macroeconomic uncertainties still abound, global manufacturers are using the low-growth environment to ramp up their innovation activity, increase efficiency, and add value to their offerings simultaneously. KPMG’s new report, Global Manufacturing Outlook: Fostering Growth through Innovation, examines an industry experiencing transformational shifts and the strategies manufacturing leaders are using to adapt to ongoing volatility, drive innovation, and position themselves for both top and bottom-line growth.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Supply Chain

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)
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

Manufacturing the Future: The Next Era of Global Growth and Innovation - November 2011
Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, a major 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.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Best Practices, Supply Chain

2012 Facts About Modern Manufacturing - October 2012
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.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Sustainability

Make An American Manufacturing Movement - December 2011
The key challenges and solutions outlined in Make: An American Manufacturing Movement appear below: 1.    Challenge: Fueling Investments in the Innovation and Production Economy from Start-up to Scale-up  Solution: Enact fiscal reform, transform tax laws, regulations and other structural costs to spur investment, ramp up production, capitalize growth companies, and create skilled jobs  2.    Challenge: Expanding U.S. Exports, Reducing the Trade Deficit, Increasing Market Access and Responding to Foreign Governments Protecting Domestic Producers Solution: Create fair and open global markets for U.S. goods and services to reduce the trade deficit and increase exports as a percentage of GDP 3.    Challenge: Harnessing the Power and Potential of American Talent to Win the Future Skills Race Solution: Prepare the Next Generation of Innovators, Researchers and Highly-Skilled Workers
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce,

Riding the New Wave in Manufacturing to More Jobs and a Better Economy - November 2011
Time is of the essence. Because longer-term initiatives require sustained public support and political will, we need to demonstrate the potential of manufacturing to create jobs now. Over the longer term, however, the U.S. hold on manufacturing must rely not just on a tenuous advantage in factor costs, but on better quality control, customer responsiveness and inter-firm efficiency. 
Other Categories:Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Education & WorkforceProductivity

U.S. Manufacturing Jobs: Where Companies Are Hiring - November 2011
This assessment of web-based job advertisements, co-authored by Lauren Gilchrist, Ken Poole, and Mark White, examines the characteristics of anticipated manufacturing hiring during the first half of 2011. Manufacturers sought workers for a variety of opportunities, such as: Nine percent of web-advertised job openings in manufacturing during the first six months of 2011 were production-related. These openings accounted for just over 60,000 of the manufacturing sector’s nearly 669,000 job openings advertised online between January and June 2011.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce

2010 Georgia Manufacturing Survey - October 2011
Analyzes several competitiveness factors for manufacturers and determines that those that compete based on innovation are nearly three times more profitable than those competing on cost.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Best Practices

What's Your Plan for 2025? - October 2011
Provides a thorough view on the struggles of today and tomorrow’s U.S. manufacturers. Focus areas include: customer priorities through innovation; globally local operations; supply network flexibility; agility on the shop floor and beyond; sustain and partner for scarce resources.
Other Categories: Innovation, Best Practices

Made in America Again, Why Manufacturing Will Return to the U.S. - August 2011
China's overwhelming manufacturing cost advantage over the U.S. is shrinking fast.  Within five years, a Boston Consultanting Group analysis concludes, rising Chinese wages, higher U.S. productivity, a weaker dollar, and other factors will virtually close the cost gap between the U.S. and China for many goods consumed in North America.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Capital & Cost, Global Competitiveness

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.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Productivity

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.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

State of Green Business 2012 - January 2011
The report shows how US companies are doing in 20 aspects of environmental performance- from operational efficiency to employee commuting to investments in clean technologies. A majority of the indicators showed declines that can be determined as a result from the recession. The report also highlights the top 10 sustainable business trends for 2012.
Other Categories: Sustainability