According to the report, 44% of North American companies saythey intend to expand production in the US over the next threeyears. Smaller percentages say they have expansion plans for othercountries and regions. However, despite the results, respondentsexpressed concerns about the nation's manufacturing climate interms of competing in the global market. While 57% of USmanufacturers hope to increase their share of international sales,they indicate improved performance partly depends on a shift ingovernment policies to boost their competitiveness.

"Manufacturers cited controlling labor costs, enacting favorabletax policies and assisting with the severe shortage of skilledmanufacturing workers, including engineers, scientists andtechnicians, as the top three areas that policymakers shouldaddress to help improve their global competitiveness," says EmilyDeRocco, senior vice president of NAM and president of theManufacturing Institute, NAM's research, education and workforceaffiliate. "With an election on the horizon, US candidates shouldredouble their efforts to explain how they will address these majorpressure points and improve prospects for a continued strongmanufacturing production base in America."

According to DeRocco, structural non-production costs such ascorporate tax rates, employee benefits, legal costs, natural gasprices and pollution abatement costs for US manufacturers are morethan 30% higher than the average for our major trading partners.She says the difference represents a significant and long-termproblem for the nation's manufacturers. Nearly 80% of respondentsidentified tax cuts for manufacturers as the key means to promoteinnovation and research. "Clearly, Congress needs to extend theR&D credit that expired at the end of last year," maintainsDeRocco.

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