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Will State of Union Proposals Help Manufacturing ?

Six new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation centers will bolster the sector, however better policies are needed to create more manufacturing jobs.

Reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union was mixed.

Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, was pleased with the announcement of an an additional six new institutes within the The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

He also appreciated the assistance that came in the form of the President’s call to roll back sequestration cuts to federal research and development.

He was however critical of the President’s connection between technology and the hollowing out of the middle class. “Technology is a key to economic growth and opportunity and it is not the cause of middle class economic woes. "he said. "In fact, it is the solution to those woes. We need to enhance technological development and promote automation and productivity growth, not equate ‘robots’ with unemployment or inequality.”

Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, was also disappointed by a number of elements in the speech. This is the third consecutive State of the Union in which there has been a strong rhetorical focus on manufacturing, and that’s welcome. But the progress, despite the rosy picture painted by the President, has been painfully slow. And in some cases, such as the trade deficit with China, we’ve seen backsliding.”

For more, read “Reaction to Speech: Thanks for New Innovation Centers but Policies Need Help” on sister site IndustryWeek.

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