Manufacturers Impacted by Stolen Software

If you are like me then you assume that software piracy only affects software development companies and the software industry. You don't associate it with manufacturing, much less think about it negatively impacting the manufacturing industry as a whole. I was therefore surprised when I saw a recent study completed by Harvard Business School (HBS) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which discussed the impact that stolen software has on U.S. manufacturing. The study argues that between 2002 and 2012 a total estimated $240 billion of manufacturing revenue was lost due to software piracy. Note that it is not estimated at $240 million, but at $240 billion! Additionally, the study noted that approximately 42,220 U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost due to software piracy.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons says:

The startling losses manufacturers have suffered in the last decade due to intellectual property (IP) theft should jumpstart action by our policymakers and law enforcement officials. It’s absolutely clear that the effects of IP theft overseas are significantly felt here at home, threatening jobs, investment and growth. The study released today paints a stark picture of what we’ve already lost due to software IP theft—and how much we stand to gain if manufacturers in the U.S. can compete on a level playing field. Until proper enforcement action is taken, our nation’s innovators will remain at a disadvantage.

So how does software piracy impact U.S. manufacturers? The main impact relates to increased costs for U.S. manufacturers compared to a manufacturer with pirated software. Many (hopefully all) U.S. manufacturing companies pay full price for the software that they purchase (and/or internally develop) to run their business. This naturally increases their cost of production. On the flip side, a company that is using pirated software has full use of and all the advantages of the software, but has not incurred any additional costs. This allows the pirated software user to sell its products at a lower rate, while still maintaining a similar margin.

Has your company ever been impacted by software piracy? Please, leave a comment below!

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Onshoring or Nearshoring?

Over the past few years, bringing manufacturing back to the United States - or onshoring - has been a hot topic in the manufacturing industry. With increasing wages, currency costs and transportation costs, many companies that previously offshored their manufacturing processes to China (and other low-cost countries) have had to reevaluate that decision. Some estimates suggest that the cost of manufacturing in China will be as high as the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. by as early as 2015. 

Although onshoring has been discussed for quite some time, and many speculated that it would happen, manufacturers are also beginning to "nearshore.” Nearshoring moves the manufacturing process out of low-cost countries and into lower-cost options close to the U.S., namely Mexico.

Mexico continues to have a low-cost labor market. Additionally, the transportation costs involved in getting products back to the United States are much lower. In an interview with Entrada Group, Jason King, vice president of AlixPartners, points to several key benefits of producing in Mexico compared to China. These benefits include:

  • Lower transportation and warehousing costs
  • Improved ability to respond to customer demands
  • Better control of intellectual property
  • Ease of proximate time zones between management and production
  • Cultural similarities between the U.S. and Mexican markets

What does this mean for manufacturing in the United States? Paula Romas, marketing director at MFI International, says, “I strongly believe North American companies should take advantage of nearshoring labor-intensive operations by establishing production sharing between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and boosting economic activity within the region.” She continues, “Forty percent of Mexico’s exports to the United States consist of components made in the United States, primarily for the automotive industry. In China, that number drops to less than eight percent. By that logic, increasing Mexico’s manufacturing industry directly stimulates manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In turn, creating jobs in Mexico stimulates the Mexican economy, which increases Mexican imports from the United States.”

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Indiana Statehouse Attacks the Manufacturing Skills Gap

The skills gap in the manufacturing industry is a hot topic right now. With the manufacturing industry being so vital to Indiana's economy, the skills gap has now gotten the attention of the Indiana legislature. State Representative Wendy McNamara has announced plans to author legislation that would create a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Diploma as an alternative to the Academic Honors or Core 40 Diplomas currently offered to high school students. The idea behind this would be that high school students will still build their skills in English, math and science, but under the CTE Diploma track it will all be in the context of a career that interests them.

"Manufacturers need workers skilled in Technical Writing, Technical Reading and Technical Communication, which students aren't given the opportunity under the Core 40 to develop and strengthen. Additionally, the same can be said for math skills acquired in Algebra and Geometry, in which Technical Math or Technical Problem Solving courses would make for a more successful member of the industrial work force," said Rep. McNamara. The full news release can be found here.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Workforce Challenges for Indiana Manufacturers

The following is the first in a series of articles on various issues discussed in the 2013 Indiana Manufacturing Survey, conducted by Katz, Sapper & Miller and Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, in partnership with the Indiana Manufacturers Association and Conexus Indiana. To read subsequent articles, visit Katz, Sapper & Miller’s manufacturing blog.

Concerns over a skilled workforce and related skills gaps in today’s manufacturing industry are all over the national news. But does this impact manufacturing in Indiana, a state with an abundance of workers with manufacturing backgrounds? As a manufacturer in Indiana, do you need to worry?

The results of the 2013 Indiana Manufacturing Survey  would suggest that you do. In fact, the survey found that long-term workforce planning was the second-highest concern for manufacturing companies when setting the corporate strategy (second only to labor costs). The majority of this concern is over the middle management and skilled labor market. There seems to be little concern over the ability to fill senior management positions, which reinforces the need for skilled laborers in manufacturing.

What is the real impact of this shortage of skilled workers? 

First, the cost to produce a company’s product increases. When a company doesn’t have enough skilled workers they tend to rely heavily on the skilled workers that are available. This will likely lead to a significant amount of overtime for these workers as the company attempts to fill its orders. This overtime can lead to burnout since the skilled workers must put in extra hours to make up for the shortage. The skilled workers are then likely to leave the company due to burnout. Now the company is not only shorthanded, it also has to cover the costs of training a new employee … if they are able to find one.

In addition to increased production costs, the survey found that an insufficiently skilled workforce directly impacted a company’s ability to implement new technologies. As a company has to focus solely on getting its product made with a constrained workforce, it does not have the time or ability to focus on new technologies that could actually improve the production process. This creates a downward efficiency spiral. In the same vein, the survey found that achieving productivity targets and implementing quality improvement processes are also being impacted by the lack of skilled workers.

The survey also found an interesting correlation between the Indiana manufacturing workforce and onshoring, another topic widely discussed in current manufacturing news. When asked how important various factors where in making a decision to onshore production (for production that was currently offshored), the U.S. labor market (skilled workforce) did not receive any votes for “very important.” Yet when respondents were asked what their reasons were for offshoring, an overseas skilled labor force was noted as very important. This shows that if Indiana manufacturers are bringing production back to the United States, it is not because of a skilled workforce. If it is returning to the U.S., it is due to other factors  such as reduced total “landed” costs –  i.e., customs/duties, transportation and warehousing.

In all the doom and gloom related to the skilled workforce shortage, there are efforts being made across the country to improve the labor market. Many companies are now providing their own training programs, versus relying on the traditional vocational programs that are state-funded. And Indiana is now looking abroad to see how other countries are filling the skills gap. These efforts should yield positive results, but the true burden will lay on the manufacturers themselves to support these efforts.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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U.S. Manufacturing Is Expanding!

U.S. Manufacturing ExpandingA recent report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) shows that its index, which measures national factory activity levels, rose from 55.7 in August 2013 to 56.2 in September 2013. Note that any reading above 50 is considered to be expansion of the manufacturing industry. This is the fastest pace of growth in the past 2½ years. The report also shows that manufacturers added workers in September at the highest level of the past 15 months. Both items reported continue to support the sentiment that manufacturers are getting their feet back under them and are starting to build momentum.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Indiana Manufacturers are Exporting at Record Levels

Indiana Manufacturers are Exporting at Record LevelsIn a recent study by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, it was determined that Indiana manufacturers are exporting at record levels. Indiana exports reached $34.4 billion during 2012, which is a record level for the state. Exports grew by 6.6% in 2012, which exceeds the level of growth for both the Midwest and the nation. However, this is not the fastest percentage of growth that the state has previously experienced (25.6% growth in 2010 and 12.3% growth 2011). The decrease in growth rates was determined in the study to be due to economic concerns in the Eurozone countries. The study also determined that Canada was the largest importer of Indiana manufactured goods. The state’s top exported items were vehicles and auto parts ($7.9 billion), followed by pharmaceutical products ($6 billion).

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Indiana Leads the U.S in Manufacturing Output Ratio

Indiana Leads the U.S in Manufacturing Output RatioA recent article by USA Today shows that the state of Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing output. Indiana contributed approximately 28.2% of the total U.S. manufacturing output for 2012. Indiana’s manufacturing also contributed approximately $84.15 billion to the U.S. GDP during 2012, which makes it the 6th highest (on a dollar basis) in the country for manufacturing contributions to GDP. Additionally, Indiana manufacturing jobs have grown at 3.7% or higher for the past three years, which leads the nation in year-over-year growth.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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FASB Issues Three Proposed Accounting Alternatives for Private Companies

The Private Company Council (PCC) has proposed, and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has endorsed, three Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs) for public comment that would allow exceptions to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) for privately held companies. The proposals are designed to reduce some of the complexity of GAAP requirements that many private company stakeholders believe are not relevant for private companies. The three proposals address using alternative approaches for the accounting of 1) intangible assets acquired in a business combination, 2) goodwill and 3) certain interest rate swaps.

The following is a summary of each of the proposed ASUs:

Proposed ASU - Business Combinations (Topic 805): Accounting for Identifiable Intangible Assets in a Business Combination (a proposal of the PCC)

Under this proposal, a private company would have an alternative approach for the recognition, measurement and disclosure of intangible assets acquired in a business combination. Read more.

Proposed ASU - Intangibles-Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Accounting for Goodwill (a proposal of the PCC)

This proposal would allow private companies to elect simplified accounting for goodwill, including amortization of goodwill and frequency and methodology of impairment testing. Read more.

Proposed ASU - Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Accounting for Certain Receive-Variable, Pay-Fixed Interest Rate Swaps (a proposal of the PCC)

Under this proposal, a private company would have two simpler approaches to account for certain types of interest rate swaps that are entered into to convert variable-rate debt borrowings to fixed-rate debt. Read more.

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Healthcare Costs Top Concern for CFOs

Manufacturing companies have a wide variety of costs that they must face in the production of their products. Direct costs (such as raw materials) are easy to understand and easy to apply. Overhead costs (i.e., electricity) can be a little more of a challenge at times, but are still managable. However, what do you do about costs that you know you are going to incur, but have no idea how to determine their value? Healthcare Costs Top Concern for CFOs

This is the case with healthcare costs and a big reason why they are the top concerns for many CFOs. A recent survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that seven out of 10 CFOs ranked healthcare costs as their top concern for 2013 and beyond. Healthcare costs easily topped other concerns noted, such as revenue growth (the next closest with approximately four out of every 10 CFOs), energy costs, taxes and availability of skilled workers, all of which are big concerns for manufacturing companies.  

The biggest challenge is determining how to budget for the upcoming year. Manufacturers need to be able to operate off of accurate budgets, so that they can determine what to bid their work at to ensure profitability on their jobs. The problem is that there are too many variables that are impacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and most companies feel overwhelmed in determining where to start. (The Affordable Care Act: What Should You Be Doing Now?)

Companies need to make sure that they understand the basic provisions of the ACA before they begin their budgeting process. They should determine what costs could be incurred and the likelihood of those costs being incurred, so that accurate budgets can be established. KSM's healthcare reform web page is a good starting point, providing access to an array of healthcare reform resources, such as articles, blog postings and presentations.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Indiana Looks Internationally to Improve the Skills Gap

Opportunity for employment in U.S. manufacturing does exist, but potential employers are struggling to find individuals that have the needed skills set. Additionally, there is a shortage of manufacturing training programs.

Recently, Indiana Governor Mike Pence met with Peter Ammon, the German ambassador to the United States, in an effort to learn more about a training model used in Germany. Germany is making an effort to reduce the skills gap by complementing a high school diploma with on-the-job-training. The German model allows individuals to earn a high school degree while they complete a true apprenticeship in a specific trade or occupation. This tends to differ from the current vocational training model in the United States, which is mainly comprised of classes taught around a specific trade or occupation after a high school degree has been obtained.  Germany currently offers approx. 350 different trades or occupations through its model. 

The program is noted for the fact that it provides young individuals with the exact skills they need - skills thata employers are looking for - as soon as they have graduated from high school.

                                                    

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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“Onshoring” Is a Reality in Indiana Manufacturing

A lot of discussion has happened around the concept of “onshoring” in manufacturing recently. (Check out my recent post on the top reasons for moving production back to the United States.) Now, Indiana is seeing the effects. 

As reported by Inside Indiana Business, Genesis Plastics Welding, based in Fortville, Indiana, has been approached by multiple customers that want the company to bring production of th"Onshoring" Is a Reality in Indiana Manufacturingeir product back to the U.S. The concerns expressed by these customers are related to the quality of the product they are currently receiving and the increase in costs. (Labor and logistics costs have increased dramatically over the past few years for products made in China, which has a direct impact on manufacturing profitability.) Additionally, Genesis Plastics noted that many of its customers have people asking if their products are made in the U.S.                                                                                                   

It will be interesting to see how this trend evolves as more companies like Genesis Plastics consider moving production back to the U.S.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Shortage in Manufacturing Training Programs?

There has been a significant increase in on-shore manufacturing productivity over the past few years (New On-Shoring Trend in the Manufacturing Industry), but will the U.S. labor market be able to continue to support that growth? 

One of the keys to maintaining a strong labor force for the manufacturing and distribution industry is industry-specific training (Strong Manufacturing Labor Force is Key to U.S. Economic Success). Training programs that were geared toward sending individuals into the manufacturing sector have seen a dramatic decrease in many states according to Manufacturing.net (full article here). 

Upon graduating from high school, many individuals are pushed to go to college by parents, guidance counselors and society in general, even when it is not the best option for them. The result is a shortage of people entering into the vocational programs that have helped fuel the labor market for manufacturing in the past. Less demand for classes, has led to a decrease in the supply of classes (Economics 101). Additionally, many vocational type programs have seen a cut in budgets through reductions in state funding.  This also reduces the amount of individuals that are being prepared for the manufacturing sector. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some institutions are fighting to keep vocational programs alive, such as Lyndon State College in Vermont, which recently started a new NEK Manufacturing Training Program. However, the classes currently being lost far exceed those that are starting.

As the current generation of manual skilled works starts to look at retirement there is a significant amount of opportunity and job openings coming online for individuals that are trained and ready. One has to wonder if there will be a generation to replace these much needed workers as the training programs disappear. Only time will tell what the ultimate impact on the manufacturing sector will be, but most likely, individual companies will have to start providing training (that they fund) versus the traditional vocational programs (state funded).

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Small Manufacturers Need to Reevaluate "Made in the USA"

Much has changed in the manufacturing industry over the past 10 years when it comes to offshoring decisions. Ten years ago, it was assumed by most manufacturers that outsourcing and buying parts from overseas would be a cheaper and more profitable approach. However, the current environment is not so easy to read. 

Manufacturing.net recently published a call to reevaluate the concept of “Made in the USA" for the following reasons, among others:

Increased shipping costs have led many manufacturing business owners to reevaluate whether the overseas parts are really less expensive than making them stateside. And manufacturers are tired of having to deal with the lag time involved when shipping parts from overseas, which typically occurs on slow-moving container ships. This can cause problems when getting products to customers on a timely basis, which impacts customer satisfaction. Not to mention a weaker U.S. dollar has made foreign-made goods more expensive.   

Read Made In The USA Back In Style For Small Businesses for more information.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Indiana Perfect Location for Manufacturers

A recent ranking by Site Selection magazine placed Indiana as the second-most competitive state in the U.S. for business based on its annual competitiveness survey

The survey evaluated each state based on the following criteria:

  • Total new and expanded facilities in 2012 (and per 1 million population)
  • Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities in 2012 (and per 1 million in population)
  • Total new jobs created in 2012 (and per 1 million in population)
  • Rank in the corporate real estate executive portion of the 2012 Site Selection Business Climate Ranking
  • State tax climate as ranked by the Tax Foundation
  • Performance in the Beacon Hill Institute's State Competitiveness Index (Business Incubator Index)
  • Number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents aged 18-64, according to ACT — Workforce Development Division, administrator of the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative

What does this mean for manufacturers? Indiana is a great location to set up shop! It provides manufacturers with a low-tax, business-friendly climate with a strong, knowledgeable workforce.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Manufacturers Need Lawmakers' Help!

While employment growth has been seen in the manufacturing industry, many manufacturers feel there could be much larger gains. In The Hill article, "Manufacturers urge lawmakers to help businesses grow," Vicki Needham reports that this is due to concerns about the health of the federal government and the nation’s current regulatory environment. Manufacturers believe they could be creating up to 20,000 new jobs monthly if they did not have to face all of the uncertainty. The biggest concerns are related to the regulatory environment and the impact from the new healthcare laws. Most manufacturers are still figuring out how the new laws are impacting their businesses. Until they know the exact impact, they will continue to be hesitant to hire.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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U.S Manufacturing Renaissance

Is the United States on the verge of a manufacturing renaissance? The data from MarketWatch related to on-shoring and re-shoring would suggest exactly that! Since the end of the recession, the U.S manufacturing sector has added approx. 500,000 new jobs to the economy. This is the first time that the sector has seen growing employment since the mid-90s. Most research supports the idea that these jobs are coming from U.S. companies re-shoring their production back to the U.S. However, MarketWatch reports that foreign companies increasingly see the U.S. as a good outsource location for their production (on-shoring). In the end, it will be difficult to tell if this results in an overall net gain or an overall net loss of jobs for the U.S. But it is a good sign that U.S. manufacturing is starting to gain momentum again!

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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U.S. Department of Commerce: Indiana Boasts a Strong Manufacturing Concentration

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released a new study titled The Geographic Concentration of Manufacturing Across the United States, which presented some interesting information on U.S. manufacturing and Indiana’s role in the industry. Manufacturing has a strong influence on the overall U.S. economy, with 25% of GDP growth from 2009 to 2011 coming from the manufacturing sector. However, this is the first study that the Commerce Department has done on the geographic nature of the manufacturing industry. The findings reveal:

  • In 2010, 629 counties (the U.S. has a total of 3,145) reported that 20% of total earnings came from the manufacturing sector.
    • Indiana ranked highest with 22.3% of the state’s earnings coming from the manufacturing sector (national average was 9.9%).
    • Indiana had the most counties included in the figure above (50 counties).
    • The study found that of the 629 counties noted above, 68% of them were located in rural or micropolitan areas.
  • In 181 counties, 20% of all jobs in the county were manufacturing jobs.
    • Indiana had the highest percentage of its employment in the manufacturing industry, with 13.1% of employment relating to manufacturing jobs (national average was 7.0%).
    • Indiana had 26 counties that fell into this category.
    • Approximately 80% of these counties were located in rural or micropolitan areas.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2013

A recent article in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Quarterly Supply Chain newsletter, "Three Trends to Watch in 2013," addresses what the council sees as the top trends to watch for in 2013.

  1. Reshoring of Jobs: This is a concept that received a lot of attention in 2012 due to rising labor costs in foreign countries, quality issues and transportation costs. Additionally, there will be increased concerns in 2013 over the ongoing labor strikes that have occurred at many U.S. ports recently, which serves as a reminder that there are risks associated with manufacturing offshore. Finally, there is far more risk to an international supply chain than a domestic supply chain (the potentional for things like natural disasters or political upheavals are higher).
  2. Rise of Demand-Driven Replenishment: The idea that manufacturers will use actual data from customers (i.e., point-of-sale systems at a retailer) to determine the amount of production that needs to occur.
  3. “Big Data” Analytics: With modern technology, manufacturers are able to use much larger quantities of information in an efficient and timely manner. Access to this information provides new opportunities to improve efficiencies and eliminate bottlenecks in production.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Modern Manufacturing: The Facts

The Manufacturing Institute recently released the eighth edition of The Facts About Modern Manufacturing. The report highlights the importance of manufacturing not only to the U.S. Economy but to the global economy as well. In fact, the report claims that the U.S. manufacturing sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the world and is the eighth-largest economy in the world. Additionally, 57% of all U.S. exports are manufactured goods.

The report does point out a few areas of concern. First, U.S. manufacturing exports were more than three times that of China’s exports in 2000. However, in 2011, Chinese manufactured exports topped U.S. manufactured exports by 21%. Additionally, the U.S. manufacturing industry must complete with a 17.6% higher structural cost burden (incorporating tax liabilities, employee benefit costs, litigation costs and regulatory compliance costs) than its nine largest competitors. Finally, despite the increases in U.S. manufacturing over the past few years, the sector has seen a decrease in its market share of global exports from 19% in 2000 to only 14% in 2007.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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Manufacturing Growth Helps States Gain Economic Health

Indiana is one of 27 states in the United States whose economic health improved during 2012 due to growth in its manufacturing sector. According to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States Index, Indiana was in the top eight for biggest gains in economic health. The Midwest states of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan have an average manufacturing employment level of 13%, which is 4.1% above the national average of 8.9%. This shows the importance of manufacturing growth to each of these states. To learn more, read Bloomberg's article, States Gaining in Economic Health as Manufacturing Grows.

Justin Hayes is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Audit and Assurance Services Department, which is comprised of individuals skilled at evaluating business and control risks for clients.

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