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Monday, 23 January 2012 11:22

Parting Shots - Mitten Power

Written by  Bill Lowry
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Parting Shots

By Wm. R. Lowry
Former Editor & Publisher, MiBiz
[email protected]

Notable Quotes

“Finally, we have something to celebrate in manufacturing. Adding 23,000 manufacturing jobs in December is welcome news for a sector that has shed one-third of its employment in the last decade. We’ve experienced positive job growth in manufacturing for two straight years, but the job gains are still just a drop in the bucket compared to what was lost in the last decade. If we can sustain monthly gains of at least 25,000 in manufacturing this year, we’ll be back on the right track.”

— Scott Paul, Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

“The agenda to accelerate growth and create jobs is clear. It’s not Washington picking winners and engaging in endless talk. Rather, it’s the tough work of creating — through assertive international trade and exchange rate policies — a level global playing field for American businesses and workers, ensuring technologies developed in America build America, developing domestic conventional energy instead of sending environmental risks abroad, and cutting banks down to size to again serve their communities.”

— Peter Morici, Former Chief Economist, U.S. International Trade Commission.

“What a difference a year makes. The Snyder administration and legislative leadership have led a dramatic renaissance in Michigan. The largest sector of Michigan’s economy, manufacturing, is already responding to these regulatory and legislative improvements. As the state’s business climate has improved, so has the viability of Michigan’s manufacturing sector, which is driving the state’s recovery.”

— Chuck Hadden, President, Michigan Manufacturers Association

“Hyundai’s investment and growing presence here demonstrates Michigan’s singular leadership in industrial engineering, research, design and technological innovation. I was pleased to meet with the Hyundai’s most senior leadership in Korea and celebrate today’s announcement as an endorsement of all that our state can offer for a world-class company.”

— Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan

Comeback Kid

The 2012 class of new word additions to leading dictionaries will likely be led by the latest descriptions of job creation: insourcing and reshoring. Indeed, from the presidential debates to the presidential podium, talk of government support for America’s manufacturing sector is suddenly all the rage.

This sudden rush of attention, as The Dow Chemical Co. CEO Andrew N. Liveris would surely concur, comes not a moment too soon. According to Liveris, “At a time when U.S. companies — run by patriotic people — are moving offshore at the fastest rate in history, we should, at a minimum, recognize that the model we are relying on isn’t working.” Liveris insists in his recent book, “Make It In America,” that if we don’t act soon, we will become the global economy’s biggest bystander.

A necessary partner in that action, he contends, is government. “It is time for us to recognize, whether we like it or not, that for now, in certain key areas, we actually need more government, not less.”

The burning question, of course, is whether politicians and bureaucrats up and down the line will actually do their jobs — earnestly creating a world-competitive business environment that encourages private sector investment and growth — or will they yet again put forward their sound bites for votes as surrogates for meaningful action.

Mitten Power

Speaking of action, it is beginning to look like federal leaders should actively turn their solution-searching eyes toward Michigan, where a notable economic turnaround is underway and gaining traction, sparked in large part because of our simmering manufacturing renaissance.

Sideline skeptics will likely assign credit solely to a rebound in the ever-cyclical auto sector, while others with inside information — like Michigan Manufacturing Association President Chuck Hadden — are on record praising legislative and regulatory changes put in place in 2011 as critical first steps to fabricating a sustainable environment for business that will attract investment and resume both job and wealth creation.

Proving the point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that from June 2010 to June 2011, Ottawa County posted the largest increase in the nation in employment growth with a gain of 4.7 percent year over year, compared with national job growth of 0.9 percent. And surprise: The largest employment increase in Ottawa occurred in manufacturing, which gained 2,514 jobs over the year (9 percent).

Another positive signpost: According to the January issue of Site Selection magazine, Michigan ranked first in the nation for R&D facility project announcements, beating out Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina.

The article, “States Reinvent the Future Through Industrial R&D,” also highlights Michigan as being in the top 10 states for the reported investment and job creation plans associated with these projects.

Good public policy supportive of commerce should be hand-in-glove easy — especially for the real Mitten state.

Read 1823 times Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2012 12:53