US policy should focus on quality and not quantity of jobs, panel tells Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit

ABU DHABI, 29th March, 2017 (WAM)– Even as manufacturing is growing in importance to the US economy, the industry must concentrate on quality of jobs, not quantity. That was the key message from a special session on day one of the inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS 2017), titled “Focus on the United States of America.”

“Manufacturing in the US has grown,” said panellist Dr. Susan Helper, the Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, and Former Chief Economist at the US Department of Commerce. “But we’re at an intermediate stage. Between 2000 and 2010 we lost a third of our manufacturing jobs, between 2010 and 2013 we grew 800,000. Since then it’s been relatively stagnant,” she said in a wide-ranging talk, the moderator, Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor, The Economist.

Dr. Helper said pick-up in jobs was down to the rescue of the auto industry and an increase in research grants, as well as increased awareness by the private sector of the hidden costs of overseas production, such as reduced flexibility and a disconnect between innovation and manufacture. But she warned the quality of jobs is not being improved by technology.

While some engineering jobs may be picking up, more “really horrible jobs are being created at minimum wage, with no training,” she added. “We’ve actually seen an increase in industrial accidents in the US, and a third of manufacturing workers are eligible for public assistance. So I think our policies have to say which direction we want to go; not just public policy, but also corporate policy.

Danny E. Sebright, President of the US-UAE Business Council, agreed that manufacturing may not bring the better jobs promised by Donald Trump on the campaign trail. “A central component of President Trump’s platform was restoring manufacturing jobs, perhaps to an idealised past of bringing back high paying factory jobs that just don’t exist anymore, that have left the US and are never coming back. That said, the US does still manufacture a lot � our total industrial output increased by 250 per cent from 1980 to 2015. What’s changed, is the decrease in the workforce because of automation and, to a lesser degree, outsourcing.”

Manufacturers contribute over US$2.17 trillion to the United States economy and employ nine per cent of the total workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, and the sector is a major driver both of exports and inbound foreign direct investment (FDI). Asked whether the new president’s policies would lead to a more inward looking America, both agreed, but also thought that this might not be a bad thing.

“The US has been the engine of growth for the world,” said Dr. Helper. “And one reason our manufacturing jobs growth has stagnated has been austerity in Europe. So, a more inward focus may be quite beneficial.” She said it was time to take stock of the focus in innovation and training, and cited trade deals, such as NAFTA, which may have added growth to GDP, but had at the same time driven down wages for the bottom half of society.

“Many business leaders were very enthusiastic about Donald Trump becoming president. After all, he is a businessman, and he has surrounded himself in government with fellow businessmen and women. He’s held meetings with automotive groups, retail chains, drug companies, airlines and other industries. He created a National Manufacturing Council comprising 28 CEOs to advise him on issues such as infrastructure, tax reform and workforce training � all of which will play a part in the manufacturing policy of the future,” Sebright said.

For all the talk of innovation, though, he said the policy aspect manufacturers were most interested in are the cuts in regulation, and tax reforms. “In cutting environmental regulation, he’s already delivering,” he said.

Dr. Helper argued that cuts in regulation don’t necessarily translate to growth: “Regulation has costs, but it also has benefits as well. Studies have been done that say the benefits can be two or three times the cost.” She cited the automotive industry, where average fuel economies may be rolled back � a move, she said, that could seriously damage automotive exports to countries with high fuel costs.

Sebright was more cautious over the president’s potential protectionism, however, raising concerns, over the US stance towards China and expressing his surprise that the voice in favour of free trade had shifted from Washington to Beijing.

Dr. Helper said, that rather than closed or open, there needs to be third way in trade: one based on innovation and not exploitation of workers. “Free trade isn’t free, anyway,” she said “If trade was truly free, these agreements wouldn’t be 3,000 pages long,” She said. Instead of deciding tariffs and other technical details, she said, the trade agreements of the future should concentrate on improving workers’ conditions. “We’re close to full unemployment now, anyway. What we need to focus on is quality of jobs, not quantity.”

The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is an unprecedented global gathering that is set to spark new ideas and set the stage for debate and action. It opened on 27th March and will run to 30th March at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. WAM/MMYS WAM 1825 2017/03/29 END

Source: Emirates News Agency

US policy should focus on quality and not quantity of jobs, panel tells Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit

ABU DHABI, 29th March, 2017 (WAM)– Even as manufacturing is growing in importance to the US economy, the industry must concentrate on quality of jobs, not quantity. That was the key message from a special session on day one of the inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS 2017), titled “Focus on the United States of America.”

“Manufacturing in the US has grown,” said panellist Dr. Susan Helper, the Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, and Former Chief Economist at the US Department of Commerce. “But we’re at an intermediate stage. Between 2000 and 2010 we lost a third of our manufacturing jobs, between 2010 and 2013 we grew 800,000. Since then it’s been relatively stagnant,” she said in a wide-ranging talk, the moderator, Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor, The Economist.

Dr. Helper said pick-up in jobs was down to the rescue of the auto industry and an increase in research grants, as well as increased awareness by the private sector of the hidden costs of overseas production, such as reduced flexibility and a disconnect between innovation and manufacture. But she warned the quality of jobs is not being improved by technology.

While some engineering jobs may be picking up, more “really horrible jobs are being created at minimum wage, with no training,” she added. “We’ve actually seen an increase in industrial accidents in the US, and a third of manufacturing workers are eligible for public assistance. So I think our policies have to say which direction we want to go; not just public policy, but also corporate policy.

Danny E. Sebright, President of the US-UAE Business Council, agreed that manufacturing may not bring the better jobs promised by Donald Trump on the campaign trail. “A central component of President Trump’s platform was restoring manufacturing jobs, perhaps to an idealised past of bringing back high paying factory jobs that just don’t exist anymore, that have left the US and are never coming back. That said, the US does still manufacture a lot � our total industrial output increased by 250 per cent from 1980 to 2015. What’s changed, is the decrease in the workforce because of automation and, to a lesser degree, outsourcing.”

Manufacturers contribute over US$2.17 trillion to the United States economy and employ nine per cent of the total workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, and the sector is a major driver both of exports and inbound foreign direct investment (FDI). Asked whether the new president’s policies would lead to a more inward looking America, both agreed, but also thought that this might not be a bad thing.

“The US has been the engine of growth for the world,” said Dr. Helper. “And one reason our manufacturing jobs growth has stagnated has been austerity in Europe. So, a more inward focus may be quite beneficial.” She said it was time to take stock of the focus in innovation and training, and cited trade deals, such as NAFTA, which may have added growth to GDP, but had at the same time driven down wages for the bottom half of society.

“Many business leaders were very enthusiastic about Donald Trump becoming president. After all, he is a businessman, and he has surrounded himself in government with fellow businessmen and women. He’s held meetings with automotive groups, retail chains, drug companies, airlines and other industries. He created a National Manufacturing Council comprising 28 CEOs to advise him on issues such as infrastructure, tax reform and workforce training � all of which will play a part in the manufacturing policy of the future,” Sebright said.

For all the talk of innovation, though, he said the policy aspect manufacturers were most interested in are the cuts in regulation, and tax reforms. “In cutting environmental regulation, he’s already delivering,” he said.

Dr. Helper argued that cuts in regulation don’t necessarily translate to growth: “Regulation has costs, but it also has benefits as well. Studies have been done that say the benefits can be two or three times the cost.” She cited the automotive industry, where average fuel economies may be rolled back � a move, she said, that could seriously damage automotive exports to countries with high fuel costs.

Sebright was more cautious over the president’s potential protectionism, however, raising concerns, over the US stance towards China and expressing his surprise that the voice in favour of free trade had shifted from Washington to Beijing.

Dr. Helper said, that rather than closed or open, there needs to be third way in trade: one based on innovation and not exploitation of workers. “Free trade isn’t free, anyway,” she said “If trade was truly free, these agreements wouldn’t be 3,000 pages long,” She said. Instead of deciding tariffs and other technical details, she said, the trade agreements of the future should concentrate on improving workers’ conditions. “We’re close to full unemployment now, anyway. What we need to focus on is quality of jobs, not quantity.”

The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is an unprecedented global gathering that is set to spark new ideas and set the stage for debate and action. It opened on 27th March and will run to 30th March at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. WAM/MMYS WAM 1825 2017/03/29 END

Source: Emirates News Agency