I've heard some business leaders say that they think Americans no longer have faith in domestic manufacturing.
However, I'm pleased to say that new survey results suggest that exactly the opposite is true.
The second annual Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing survey, released last week by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, indicates that 78 percent of Americans actually have a strong view of the significance of manufacturing and see it as very important to the country's economic prosperity. Likewise, 76 percent of those polled said that manufacturing is very important to the standard of living in the United States.
The new research also suggests that the American public believes that the American worker is ready and able to participate in a healthy manufacturing sector. When asked to select from a list of 21 attributes that make American manufacturing globally competitive, respondents identified the top three as: work ethic, skilled workforce and productivity and all of those were listed well ahead of non-workforce related attributes, such as infrastructure and natural resources.
Interestingly, three-fourths of survey respondents believe that the United States needs a more strategic approach to developing its manufacturing base. In addition, about the same percentage believe the country should invest more in the manufacturing industry, and 68 percent would like to see a strong manufacturing base developed as a national priority.
So, why aren't American workers going into manufacturing?
According to Craig Giffi, vice chairman and Deloitte's consumer and industrial products industry leader in the United States, that answer can also be found in the survey results. More than half (55 percent) of those polled think the long term outlook for American manufacturing is weaker than today, and only 30 percent of respondents would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career. He says the survey shows that this trepidation is tied directly to concerns over government policies. Respondents consistently identified government-related factors as the biggest obstacles to the success of manufacturing in the United States specifically policies relating to business, tax rates on individuals, and both state and federal leadership in this area.
For more information and to download the survey findings go to: www.deloitte.com/us/mfgimageindex.