Fueling American Manufacturing

Today is National Manufacturing Day or “MFG Day” in the United States. Sponsored by various manufacturing trade groups and companies, the day is a celebration of the importance of the American manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing companies across the country are giving tours and hosting open house events to give their local communities a chance to see what is being made in their area. According to the event organizers, the organized effort will “address the skilled labor shortage (manufacturers) face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”

The goal of the effort is to “amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges” in order to help manufacturing companies “come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.”

Local and state governments across the country have joined President Obama in passing resolutions and proclamations celebrating MFG Day and the important work of manufacturers in the United States.

While there are many challenges facing American manufacturing, there is a great deal to celebrate this year. After years of deep job losses, manufacturing is on the way back in America. According to the New York Times, “industrial production has rebounded strongly in the wake of the Great Recession, up roughly 20 percent since the end of 2009. Employment in the factory sector, after a steep fall during the downturn, has also recovered. Since hitting bottom in early 2010, manufacturers have added nearly 700,000 jobs, bringing total factory employment in the United States to 12.2 million.”

This job growth is due in large part to affordable energy from shale gas. An article in the MIT Technology Review explained that the affordability of “natural gas—which can be used to make a vast number of products, including tires, carpet, antifreeze, lubricants, cloth, and many types of plastic—is luring key industries to the United States…the ability to access natural gas trapped in shale rock formations, using technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has lowered American prices to a fraction of those in other countries.” A study by the University of Michigan Energy Institute found that the benefits from shale energy will be widespread because natural gas has the potential to "revive the chemical industry and bolster energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass and food” through lower energy costs. 

While these new manufacturing jobs are distributed across the country, Texas is a common location for many of these new operations and plant expansions. For example, Reuters reported on the arrival of Austrian steel company Voestalpine in Texas following an examination of seventeen industrial sites in eight countries. They “settled on…Texas, after a boom in the production of natural gas from shale extraction brought gas prices down to just a quarter of what companies paid in Europe.”

Thank you manufacturers for moving our economy forward and thank you to shale energy producers for helping make it possible!

Read more about 2014 MFG Day at http://www.mfgday.com.


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