Weekly Columns

Manufacturing, Jobs & Economic Growth

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Washington, October 12, 2016 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments

Last Friday, October 7th, we observed Manufacturing Day. Despite the difficulties the manufacturing industry has faced over the last several years, manufacturing accounts for more than 8 percent of U.S. employment. The industry employed roughly 12 million Americans in 2013. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than 45,000 Tennesseans in the First Congressional district are employed in the manufacturing industry. Statewide, more than 300,000 Tennesseans have jobs in the industry. There’s no question manufacturing is an important part of both Tennessee’s and the U.S. economy as a whole.

That’s why I was proud to support Manufacturing Day by cosponsoring H.Con.Res 155, a resolution expressing support for the designation of the first Friday of October as Manufacturing Day. Since serving in Congress, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many manufacturers in and around Northeast Tennessee, and I’ve seen first-hand the good-paying jobs these employers bring to our region. Unfortunately, many manufacturers have been overwhelmed with regulation, making it more difficult to keep existing jobs and create new ones.

A key portion of House Republicans’ Better Way agenda is economic growth, and one of the main pieces of that agenda is to regulate smarter. In 2015, federal regulations cost $1.89 trillion in lost growth and productivity. That’s money that could’ve and should’ve been used to grow businesses, get more Americans back to work and boost wages. If our regulatory system were a country, it would have the world’s 9th largest economy. Did you know the law that governs regulations, the Administrative Procedure Act, is 70 years old? Our workforce doesn’t look the same as it did 70 years ago, and our regulations shouldn’t either. As I’ve said time and time again, the federal government has no business regulating over the will and ability of states unless absolutely necessary. Federal intervention should be used as the last available option; and regulators must stop writing regulations in search of a problem.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Industry and Occupational Employment Projections for 2012 – 2022 predicted that employment in Tennessee will grow to more than 3.1 million by 2022. While this is promising news, the report projected the slowest rates of job creation are expected in manufacturing, where only .2 percent growth is predicted. The report also found that Tennessee’s manufacturing employment was 380,000 at its peak in 2007. That number dropped to 313,500 in 2012 and is projected to be below the 2007 level at 317,000 for 2022. We can do better, which is why I strongly support the Better Way plan.

Manufacturing is one of the most important industries to our economy and generated $2.1 trillion GDP for 2013. Data from the Economic Policy Institute found that, in 2013 alone, the manufacturing sector supported more than 17 million jobs on top of the 12 million people in this country directly employed by the industry. This data shows that more than 29 million jobs are a direct result of manufacturing, which is why I will continue to support policies to help support and create good-paying manufacturing jobs across the United States.

Feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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