Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Roby Brock and Michael Tilley at Talk Business published a very informative story earlier this week that examines the decline in manufacturing jobs, both in Arkansas and at a national level. 

They note at the onset of the story that the number of manufacturing jobs in Arkansas is at its lowest level since 1968.  Despite this alarming news, a study released earlier in the year by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and linked in the Talk Business story, points out that the US is still the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 21% of global manufactured products.  If taken alone, U.S. manufacturing would be the 9th largest economy in the world.

So, if our manufacturing sector is still the strongest in the world, why are we losing manufacturing jobs in the Natural State and across the country?

Well, as the NAM report points out, other countries—especially in Europe and Asia—promote tax, regulatory and trade policy that spurs innovation and investment in the manufacturing sector.

Our current tax, regulatory and trade policy run counter to this international trend.

We can jumpstart the manufacturing sector if we get the federal government out of their way.

  • Simplify the tax code and reduce the corporate tax rate to levels that are comparable with our trading partners;
  • Along those same lines, promote tax policy that encourages innovation;
  • Stop the heavy-handed regulations and give our manufacturers a sense of certainty in terms of the rules under which they have to operate; and, perhaps most importantly,
  • Open more markets for our exporters by passing pending trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Columbia.

By taking these steps, we will create more manufacturing jobs and give a permanent shot in the arm to our entire economy.