OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Health Care Costs Continue to be a Major Concern for Manufacturers

Manufacturing

By Todd Lucas

As we move into the second half of 2013, uncertainties surrounding health care costs continue to be a chief concern of manufacturers. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)/IndustryWeek recently released Survey of Manufacturers, concerns over health care and insurance costs continue to rise. In fact, over 82% identified this as their top concern, up from 74% in the previous survey.

Additionally, out of the 317 manufacturers that participated in the survey, more than half stated that their company was not prepared if required to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Act) beginning in 2014. Fortunately, manufacturers and other business have received a brief, one-year reprieve from the employer mandate of implementing certain provisions of the Act. While employers will benefit from the additional year, it will no doubt extend the already existing uncertainty another year.

The majority of respondents also indicated that the unfavorable business climate due to taxes and regulation and uncertainties related to the political climate are among their concerns.

“The manufacturing sector remains stuck in neutral as manufacturers continue to face a number of challenges and uncertainties dampening their ability to grow,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “This quarter’s survey shows that manufacturers need solutions and certainty as concerns about rising health care costs climb and taxes and regulation remain a top challenge for growth. Job growth in manufacturing remains stagnant as the sector lost 8,000 jobs in May. To see strong manufacturing growth in the second half of 2013, Washington needs to act on policies addressing manufacturers’ top challenges to reduce uncertainty and help our nation better compete globally.”

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