In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama talked about a roadmap for rebuilding our economy. I quote:
“We will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. This blueprint begins with American manufacturing.”
It likely comes as no surprise to economists that a key to reducing unemployment and reviving our economy lies in manufacturing rather than service industries. Manufacturing has direct ties to other business sectors. The economic impact extends well beyond mill gates - on the supply side as well as through distribution and retail. In other words growth in manufacturing creates a multiplier effect and helps to generate jobs and investments in other sectors.
According to our trade association, AF&PA, the forest products industry
- accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP.
- employs nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries.
- meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.
And these statistics don’t speak to the multiplier effect of our industry.
Yesterday, I quoted our CEO from our recently released Sustainability Report wherein he proclaimed he has never been more proud to work for Sappi. I echo these sentiments in a broader sense. I am proud to work for a pulp and paper company. I am proud to work in an industry that makes products from renewable and recyclable resources. In the grand scheme of manufacturing, I am hard pressed to think of an industry that is more sustainable.