World Trade Month: Promoting Products Made in the U.S. Abroad
May, designated as World Trade Month, is marked by events across the country to promote U.S. trade relationships and provide resources to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world. This year it has particular significance – the Obama Administration and the Commerce Department have made increasing exports and revitalizing America’s manufacturing sector among their top priorities. It makes good business sense to link the two. Both manufacturing and exporting play a role in strengthening our economy, creating jobs and opening up opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
In 2011, the United States hit an all-time record of $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports. More than half of that -- about $1.3 trillion – was manufactured goods. And manufacturing not only drives exports, it also spurs innovation. Last year, manufacturing was responsible for 70 percent of our private sector R&D and 90 percent of our patents, according to a newly released Commerce Department report. The report also shows that manufacturing workers earn pay and benefits about 17 percent higher than other workers.
The role of the manufacturing sector in the U.S. economy is more prominent than is suggested solely by its output or number of workers. It is a cornerstone of innovation in our economy: manufacturing firms fund most domestic corporate research and development (R&D), and the resulting innovations and productivity growth improve our standard of living. Manufacturing also drives U.S. exports and is crucial for a strong national defense.
The current economic recovery has witnessed a welcome return in manufacturing job growth. Since its January 2010 low to April 2012, manufacturing employment has expanded by 489,000 jobs or 4 percent1— the strongest cyclical rebound since the dual recessions in the early 1980s. From mid-2009 through the end of February 2012, the number of job openings surged by over 200 percent, to 253,000 openings. 2 Coupled with attrition in the coming years from Baby Boomer retirements, this bodes well for continued hiring opportunities in the manufacturing sector.3
Joe McClure, District Director
Montana District Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
Your success is our goal – that’s why this month I’m focusing on dispelling the myths of business loans and giving you tips and tools so you are well prepared when applying for a business loan. The Small Business Administration is here to help and give you a leg up on getting a small business loan.
A common misconception is that SBA loans money directly to small businesses. We do not. We do, however, guaranty loans made through local approved lenders. The SBA guaranty reduces the risk to the financial institution and may provide the lender with more flexibility in credit decisions. Contact your lender directly to apply for an SBA loan or visit our website to find a local SBA lender.
We recommend approaching the financial institution you currently do business with first. They have first-hand knowledge about you, your character and your history. If your bank says no, don’t be discouraged; think of it as an opportunity to shop around! Some lenders do not make certain types of loans, so although you may not qualify for a loan at one institution, you may be approved at another.
Manufacturing is a dynamic and changing industry. Explore and analyze the current state of manufacturing and its potential future direction. To this end, several manufacturing indicators are listed below to paint a picture. These indicators were chosen to represent a current snapshot of different dimensions of the industry and its performance. The indicators are updated as new data becomes available. Links to the sources of these indicators are provided when available.
American manufacturers are saying that business is booming, but many of them also say that banks aren’t keen to provide the loans necessary to hire more workers, buy new equipment, and ramp up production. According to Biz2credit, a New York firm that matches borrowers with lenders, a recent analysis found that loan approvals at large banks (those with $10 billion plus in assets) fell in April for the second straight month.
Banks are saying that they’re willing to lend but also admit that they are proceeding with caution, especially with loans to smaller, or contract manufacturers. Recent articles note that “the slow pace of the economic recovery is causing both borrowers and lenders to proceed with caution” and “ the slowdown in small-business lending is due to the March expiration of a temporary 90% guarantee on SBA loans and the reinstatement SBA loan fees that had been temporarily waived to stimulate lending.”
However, I would like to suggest that the continued tightness in business lending may be a reflection of banking strategies employed by different sized banks. Big national banks are much more likely to have been affected by the mortgage backed security mess and the subsequent increase in bank oversight and regulation has encouraged them to reduce risk and tighten lending. Smaller banks, meanwhile, which have traditionally made their living off of smaller loans that they carry on their own balance sheets, seem to have increased their small business lending.