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Stephen Gold is president and CEO of Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), an executive education and business research organization in Arlington, Va. (www.mapi.net).
Over the past decade, U.S. manufacturers intuitively felt that regulatory-compliance costs on their companies were growing. It turns out they were right. New research into the impact of federal regulations on manufacturers, commissioned by MAPI and prepared by NERA Economic Consulting, confirms that since 1998 the cost of manufacturing-related rules has grown far more rapidly than manufacturing itself: Manufacturing regulations grew an average of 7.6% a year in that time span compared with average growth of 0.4% for the sector’s output.
The report, "Macroeconomic Impacts of Federal Regulation of the Manufacturing Sector," also shows that the number of major regulations—those with an impact of $100 million or more—have continued to climb over the years. The Clinton administration issued an average of 36 major regulations each year, President Bush promulgated an average of 45, and now President Obama’s agencies are issuing an average of 72 major rules annually.