Action plan for jobs
Manufacturing and businesses mean jobs. We need to jumpstart job growth in Pennsylvania, and now is the time. As a resident employed as CEO by a manufacturing company, I cannot stay silent while a jobs-destroying public-policy agenda looms.
For eight years, we’ve had a governor who seriously underestimated the value of businesses and manufacturing to a healthy state economy. Now, under new leadership, we have an opportunity to turn this around.
The economic environment in our region, combined with the fact that we are at a critical juncture in forming state and national policies, means that no one who makes a living from manufacturing can afford to sit on the sidelines.
Manufacturing supports an estimated 18.6 million jobs in the U.S. — about one in six private-sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (10 percent of the work force) are employed directly in manufacturing. And these jobs pay well; in 2009, the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned $70,666 annually, including pay and benefits, while the average non-manufacturing worker earned $57,993.
Chief Executive magazine surveys more than 600 U.S. CEOs to rank the best and worst states for business based on criteria involving work ethic and government attitude toward business. For the fifth year in a row, Texas is No. 1 and California is 50. Our state is down three spots from 2009’s survey to No. 32. The Forbes rankings bring Pennsylvania in at 31.
Why are we so far down on these listsâ¢ As a resident and leader of more than 1,000 employees in Pennsylvania, I can tell you quality of life and work ethic surely aren’t the problems.
The rankings represent economic realities that directly impact each of us. On the growth side, Pennsylvania, at No. 32, grew at a rate that is 1.7 percent below the national average.
What to doâ¢ Put out the word: Corporations are not evil for wanting to be profitable, because profit enables investment, in both the business and employees. At Kennametal, for example, we invest 89 cents of every dollar of profit back into the company.
Keep employees informed on key public-affairs issues. Informed voters have the power to change policy. We just witnessed an unhappy electorate demanding economic stability from a government they believe isn’t working.
Reward and support the right behavior. We have state and federal legislators whose voting records demonstrate an understanding of the role manufacturing, and businesses in general, play in maintaining and growing jobs. Check the records at www.nam.org/~/media/C26287D9A7A24A199389AB3CB4A123D0/NAM_Voting_Record_111th_FINAL.pdf , find the legislators who are fighting to improve the business climate and give them your support.
Work with public officials to study what top-ranked states are doing right and devise a strategy for Pennsylvania with some of the following elements:
â¢ A tax structure that attracts new businesses and encourages employers to stay. The Department of Labor reports that most mass job relocations are state to state rather than to a foreign country.
â¢ Fair regulation that protects us and our environment without creating burdensome and redundant reporting.
â¢ Incentives for businesses that support work-force education and drive innovation.
If your family depends on manufacturing for a livelihood, now is the time to get involved on behalf of a strong manufacturing future.
Carlos Cardoso is chairman, president and CEO of Kennametal Inc. in Unity.