The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers partnered with a newly-created Midwest manufacturing alliance last week, comprised of the same seven states as the recent Midwest governors’ partnership, and sent a letter to those governors asking for a healthy but timely reopening of state economies. Manufacturing is by far the largest component of Kentucky’s GDP, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and KAM welcomes this new alliance.
America is facing extraordinary times that rival some of the greatest challenges in our nation’s history. Every single time that our nation has called, American manufacturers have answered, rising to the challenge, and leading the way forward. Today, our innovative and resourceful manufacturers are again on the front lines in this pandemic battle. American manufacturing is the key part of the solution and no region is more important than the industrial Midwest.
Collectively, we represent nearly 3.5 million women and men employed on factory floors or 27 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the United States. The impact of our industry is enormous with a direct economic output of $580 billion2 while the jobs multiplier and direct economic multiplier are the largest of any sector in the nation. Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the nation and nowhere is this more evident than in the Midwest where we drive the economy.
These numbers do not tell the entire story of the dynamic and evolving manufacturing sector and its impact on America during this pandemic. Amazing manufacturers are ramping up production or retooling their facilities in order to provide live-saving products for our health care providers, supplying first responders with critically important equipment, and ensuring that our grocery stores are stocked with safe and nutritious food. Our companies are transporting people and product around the globe, powering our homes and businesses, building our infrastructure and communication systems, and providing for our nation’s defense.
You recently announced a new bipartisan Midwest collaboration to help “mitigate the economic crisis” caused by the novel coronavirus by working “in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes our workers’ health.”
Our organizations wholeheartedly agree that it is time to focus on reigniting our economy and there is no better sector to respond than American manufacturers, and specifically the industrial Midwest that you represent. Midwest manufacturing is an economic powerhouse with the tools and capability to help lift our nation out of this unprecedented economic and health crisis. The vast majority of manufacturers are currently operating in order to provide essential equipment to keep our nation running and we are uniquely qualified to protect the health of our employees and communities because of our experience with OSHA safety standards.
Manufacturing has demonstrated that it can operate safely and provide critically needed products to support our nation’s economy. These companies offer good, high-paying jobs and make the products that will allow our residents and businesses to return to a sense of normalcy. We should collectively look to reopen all of manufacturing and other essential businesses to protect our regional economy.
This global crisis shows once again the need for a strong and robust manufacturing sector in the United States and especially in the Midwest. We look forward to working with you not only to reopen the economy, but to enact policies that will encourage the growth of manufacturers, and their supply chains, here at home so that we can be prepared for the next challenge ahead.
This letter was signed by Lee Lingo, executive director of Kentucky Manufacturers Association, and six other leaders in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.