The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is holding its Summer Conference this week in Rosemont, Ill.

Yesterday, Stephen Gold, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), delivered a keynote presentation on the recovery of the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Also speaking at the conference was Dr. Tom Gloria, the managing director of Industrial Ecology Consultants.

According to Gold, U.S. manufacturing “contracted more than 21 percent during the recession,” but began to recover faster than the gross domestic product (GPD) beginning in the third quarter of 2009. However, following a 10 percent growth in the first quarter of 2010, manufacturing recovery has slowed.

During the presentation, Gold noted the headwinds that have slowed U.S. manufacturing growth, preventing an “economic renaissance:” a weak global economy, high structural costs relative to trading partners, political gridlock and the worker skills gap.

In regards to the worker skills gap, Gold noted that this has been “a problem in the making” due to the canceling of many vocational programs, which has left five percent of manufacturing jobs unfilled because of the lack of skilled workers.

While Gold said he believes job growth for the U.S. manufacturing industry may never reach the levels of the 1990s (17.5 million jobs), it is possible to “regain the jobs lost during the recession if the right policies are in place in Washington.” Additionally, Gold noted that the energy revolution, narrowing age gap between China and the U.S., new shipping and supply chain strategies, as well as re-emergence in the U.S. housing market are all tailwinds for U.S. manufacturing recovery.

During the past three decades, Gold has represented U.S. manufacturers in a variety of senior-level roles in nonprofit membership organizations, including in government relations, communications and operations.

Gloria presented information on developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) using the Product Category Rules (PCR) guidance document.

The PCR guidance document currently is being developed by AAMA, along with a joint group of industry associations and manufacturer representatives, and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2013. The document is a response to a widely recognized need for a single ANSI-approved resource to use in developing industry recognized and uniform comparative EPDs and substantive LCAs.


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