Manufacturing has played a vital role in the United States’ economic and social development since the nation’s founding. And while the manufacturing sector has seen more than 5 million lost American jobs over the past decade, it is nonetheless experiencing a notable renaissance. As the country continues to combat economic pressures not seen since the Great Depression, manufacturers, labor and legislators are identifying policies to strengthen manufacturing and reenergize this highly important sector to the U.S. economy.
On July 12, the Governance Studies program at Brookings hosted a half-day conference focused on fortifying manufacturing to improve the United States’ future economic performance, social mobility and edge in innovation. Questions explored include: what does good manufacturing policy look like in a new economic reality? What are management and labor doing to strengthen the sector? What are the best ways to address the challenges facing U.S. manufacturing? And how does manufacturing play a role in the United States’ standing as the world’s leader in innovation? The conference marked the first annual John White, Jr. Forum on Public Policy, which convenes leaders from academia, business and government to discuss and identify solutions to the United States’ most pressing challenges.