The President of the National Association of Manufacturers came to Texas to talk about a renaissance of manufacturing in America, and Jay Timmons said it is largely driven by the oil and gas boom happening in the Lone Star State, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"For the first time in probably all of our lifetimes, we actually have an advantage when it comes to energy production, availability, and cost," Timmons told 1200 WOAI news.
Timmons said the revitalization of American manufacturing is 'one of the great untold stories of this decade.' He said in addition to cars and airplanes, which have been manufactured in the United States without pause, things like televisions and appliances, which were completely off-shored in the 1980s, are now being manufactured in the United States again.
Timmons told business leaders that no major nation can succeed without a strong manufacturing climate. He says manufacturing spins off more related jobs than any other industry, and because manufactured good are frequently exported, that improves the nation's balance of trade, and brings new cash into the country.
Timmons aid a couple of factors are standing in the way of manufacturing blooming to its full capacity. One of those is government policy, especially EPA environmental policies, which require manufacturers to spend millions of dollars to remove a relatively small amount of greenhouse gasses from their emissions.
But the second factor standing in the way of manufacturing is a lack of skilled workers.
"There is an amazing number of jobs that are available in manufacturing, and manufacturers can't fill them, because we can't find people with the right skills."
At a time when concern is rising about the burden of college loan debt on the economy, manufacturing is the answer.
"Those jobs pay about 27% more than the average job in other sectors, and most manufacturing jobs don't require a college degree, so you don't start out with hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt."
Timmons says manufacturing still has the reputation of being smoky, dirty mind numbing jobs where people spend the entire day turning one widget over and over again. He says nothing could be further from the truth. He says manufacturing today is clean, high tech, and very much driven by the workers on the shop floor.
Other factors leading to the return of manufacturing jobs to the U.S. include greater concern about lawlessness and governor actions in places like Venezuela, Ecuador, and other countries where rulers have nationalized factories. Also...the price of fuel today is a lot higher than it was in the 1980s, adding to the cost of shipping manufactured products back to the U.S., and gone are the days when workers in places like China would gladly work all day for $2 a week. Workers are demanding to be lifted to the middle class, which is cutting into the wage advantage that off shoring presented to manufacturing operations in the 1970s and 1980s.