By Bryan Iams in The Hill 1/12/15
With many new faces taking their seats in Congress, there has never been a better time for our elected officials to come together to leverage the current revival in U.S. manufacturing.
Now, more than ever, manufacturing is making important contributions to our economy. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), U.S. manufacturing accounts for more than 17 million, well-paying American jobs, and output has increased by 18 percent since the official end of the recession in 2009. For the first time, manufacturing contributes more than $2 trillion to the U.S. economy, 12.5 percent of America’s gross domestic product.
Why is U.S. manufacturing thriving? One reason is the availability of affordable energy. An October 2014 report by the International Monetary Fund showed that exports of manufactured products have risen 6 percent since the start of America’s shale-gas production boom. It’s a sign that plentiful, affordable natural gas is benefiting U.S. manufacturing. Low oil prices are helping as well.
Another very real contributor that some may find surprising is competitive labor costs. A report published last...