Guest Column: Energy costs clobbering workers' paychecks, says NAM President Engler

WASHINGTON, D.C.—While the National Association of Manufacturers’ annual Labor Day Report is good news for manufacturers, soaring energy costs are hurting manufacturing workers at the pump and in their paychecks. “The report provides a snapshot of the U.S. economic performance over the past year,” said John Engler, the NAM’s president and CEO. “It illustrates the need for energy reform to become a national priority.”

Manufacturing production increased at its fastest pace in six years, and jobs on the factory floor have posted their strongest gains since 1998. “Healthy productivity growth, combined with a tightening labor market, has continued to boost workers’ real, inflation-adjusted wages,” said David Huether, the NAM’s chief economist.

“But while workers’ total compensation has continued to outpace inflation, wages have not,” Huether said. “Surging energy prices have propelled inflation at a faster pace than workers’ take-home pay and have resulted in declines in real wages for working Americans.”

“Over the past year energy prices have risen 23 percent because of increased global demand, limited domestic supplies, natural disasters and global instability,” Engler said. “As a result, real wages have fallen by 0.5 percent over the past year when they should have gone up by 1.2 percent.

“The time has come to build a national energy policy to address these costs by increasing domestic production and supply,” Engler said. “Our nation was galvanized around the Manhattan Project, we put a man on the moon, and 50 years ago, we created the Interstate Highway System. If we marshal that same national spirit of cooperation, unity and focus, we can ensure energy security.”

The report and accompanying charts are available at:

The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 10 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM’s award-winning web site at w for more information about manufacturing and the economy.

From the Sept. 20-26, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!