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Title: Dan DiMicco's solution for what ails U.S. economy? Manufacturing
Source: Charlotte Business Journal
URL Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlott ... r-u-s-wealth-creation-dan.html
Published: Oct 22, 2014
Author: Ken Elkins
Post Date: 2014-10-22 23:46:26 by nativist nationalist
Keywords: None
Views: 442

Forget the idea that the U.S. economy is chugging along in a respectable recovery after the Great Recession, says Dan DiMicco, former CEO of steel manufacturer Nucor Corp.

And the 5.9 percent unemployment rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for September? Forget that, too, he says.

The real unemployment rate is the 16.1 percent, which includes those working part time but who would rather be working full time. You also have to consider those who have given up looking for work and those who have been fired or have quit since the last counting, DiMicco says.

The labor statistics folks call it the U6, which also measures the "marginally attached" who aren't counted in the labor force.

"That means less people are involved in work," DiMicco says. It also goes to show that the recovery from the 2007 recession is too slow, he says.

"Each successive recession has taken us longer and longer to recover in terms of job losses," he says.

DiMicco spoke this morning as a part of a Bosch Rexroth Corp. sales meeting at BB&T BallPark in uptown Charlotte.

He stressed the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy. Indeed, DiMicco has become the unofficial spokesman and proponent of things made in the United States.

We need to give up on the idea that we're in a service economy and that making things in this country is no longer important to GDP, he says. Instead, manufacturing and construction are keys to a healthy economy.

"We have to become a nation that innovates, makes and builds things," he says. But manufacturing generates only about 11 percent of U.S. GDP today, down from 30 percent in 1974.

The country can't be a nation of consumers, he says.

"If you don't have a job, pretty soon it's a problem being a consumer," he says. "You can't be a consumer if you're not a producer."

DiMicco has a book coming out next year, titled American Made. Palgrave Macmillan, a unit of London-based Macmillan Publishers Ltd., is publishing the book, which is due out in March. Lauren Janiec, publicity manager in New York, says page galleys of the book have already been printed.

DiMicco prescribes a four-step process for the U.S. to regain its manufacturing dominance. First, America needs to "achieve energy independence," he says. In that process, we should not export natural gas to countries to help them cut their production costs.

The second step is to balance the U.S. trade deficit, he says. America also has to rebuild its infrastructure at a price tag of about $3 trillion, DiMicco says.

Then Congress must change governmental policies that have "hamstrung" manufacturers in this country, he says.

"We need to rebuild America's regulatory and tax nightmare," he says. Part of that is removing barriers to American exporters. Another part is fighting China's manipulation of its currency and other "illegal" practices, which have allowed China to dump steel on U.S. markets and commit other infractions.

About 100 Bosch Rexroth salesmen, engineers and executives cheered, laughed and raised their hands in response to DiMicco's comments.

From its South Lakes Drive plant and offices in Charlotte, Bosch Rexroth makes factory automation equipment that includes a computer-controlled "linear motor drive" that adds extremely fast and adjustable motions to a production line.

At 200 employees, the plant is in a growth mode, says Erwin Wieckowski, vice president of factory automation for Bosch Rexroth in Charlotte.

"We've had to add shifts at the plant," he says. "We see a great future here."

He declined to say how many new employees have been hired during the last 18 months. He did say Bosch Rexroth has enough land in its southwest Charlotte location to double the size of its 105,000-square-foot production facility, if needed.

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