Manufacturing a Policy in DC

PF Digital Dispatch

ne of the most talked-about items at the NASF Washington Forum recently was the lack of a U.S. ‘Manufacturing Policy,’ essentially a plan to rebound from our country’s most recent economic blahs through a revitalization of the manufacturing sector.


One of the most talked-about items at the NASF Washington Forum recently was the lack of a U.S. ‘Manufacturing Policy,’ essentially a plan to rebound from our country’s most recent economic blahs through a revitalization of the manufacturing sector.

Those in the surface finishing industry — especially those who have survived the most recent sluggish economy — know how important a robust manufacturing sector is to the U.S.

Talk of a more focused manufacturing policy isn’t new, but has picked up steam. In June of 2009, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, called on the U.S. to increase its manufacturing base employment to 20% of the entire workforce, saying that that the U.S. has outsourced way too much and that we shouldn’t rely on the financial sector and consumer spending to bring us out of the doldrums.

But as Capital Hill twiddles its thumbs on helping small businesses and manufacturers, the numbers appear to be good for the sector, despite the lack of help from Congress. In April, the U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in almost six years. In fact, it was at a rate that was above expectations, and represented a ninth straight month of gains.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 60.4 in April from 59.6 in March, with the headline index at its highest since June 2004. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Still, from what we heard at the NASF Washington Forum, much help is still needed from Congress to get serious about helping the manufacturing sector by developing a policy that gets everyone on the same page, and hopefully gets people back to work.