American Manufacturers Seek Supply Chain And Tax Help From Lawmakers

A major manufacturers trade organization is calling for action from politicians to substantively address continuing supply chain woes and the surging inflation plaguing the nation in advance of the midterm elections coming up in November.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced its “Competing to Win” agenda last week. The NAM board of directors and CEO Jay Timmons met Monday afternoon to discuss strategies to get lawmakers to address tax policy, workforce development, and other initiatives that could boost the competitive power of domestic manufacturers that are struggling mightily.

BTE Technology president Chuck Wetherington participated in the meeting and said that American manufacturers facing a “potential recession” need “additional solutions from policymakers.” Many entrepreneurs and manufacturers believe that the economy is already in a recession, as production has lagged for all of 2022 so far.

Standard economic analysis has traditionally considered two consecutive quarters of contracting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the technical definition of recession. GDP fell for the first two quarters of the year. Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index (PPI) figure that reflects wholesale inflation came in at an annual figure of 8.7% last month.

NAM is especially pressing lawmakers to take action on workforce development, as the labor force participation rate continues to falter and employers nationwide are struggling to find and retain qualified employees.

Wetherington said that labor shortages are especially pronounced in the manufacturing sector, describing it as a long-term problem.

Ketchie president Courtney Silver told the group that positive changes in tax policy could help smaller companies not feel “stuck between a rock and a hard place” when making difficult decisions about capital expansion and adding productive capacity. She emphasized the value of increasing incentives directly targeting new research and development spending.

NAM is calling for expansion of Pell Grant programs to provide assistance in “short-term or accelerated education models” and to increase funding for “earn-and-learn” programs designed to develop job skills and attract long term employees.

The group is also discussing how tax incentives and other policy changes could enhance domestic production competitiveness and attract capital investment. The board discussed the newly enacted CHIPS and Science Act as an example. That law allocates more than $52 billion for U.S. semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing.