Analysis: Bipartisan infrastructure bill would add half a million manufacturing jobs

Construction seen on I-66 in Virginia
Greg Nash

Bipartisan infrastructure legislation would create nearly half a million manufacturing jobs before the end of President Biden’s first term, according to a new analysis released Tuesday.

The report, authored by research firm IHS Markit on behalf of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), includes jobs created by the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal and the Senate’s $304 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill.

AEM, a trade group that represents equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar and John Deere, released the data as infrastructure negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans hit a new roadblock. Senators on Monday scrambled to resolve several disagreements over funding for public transit, highways, broadband and other issues, but it appears the proposal is at risk of collapsing entirely.

Kip Eideberg, AEM’s vice president of government and industry relations, said Congress’s inability to pass a bipartisan bill would amount to a “crippling failure for the American economy.”

“We’re reminding lawmakers that if we cannot update and modernize our infrastructure, it is going to be increasingly difficult for our industry to remain competitive in the global economy,” he said. “They’ve got to get this done.”

AEM’s report found that the infrastructure bills would create 100,000 new equipment manufacturing jobs and bring in nearly $2.3 billion in new federal, state and local tax revenue from the industry. 

Those high-skilled manufacturing jobs are located primarily in rural areas that rely on well-maintained roads, bridges and highways, and for years have struggled to attract workers due to poor internet connectivity. 

“When you have an industry that is heavily concentrated in rural areas, broadband access is critical to not only business operations but their ability to hire and retain a workforce,” Eideberg said. “That’s another point we’re making to Democrats, Republicans and the White House.”

Business groups are prodding lawmakers to swiftly pass the bipartisan infrastructure framework, which forgoes tax hikes on corporations. The groups frequently reiterate Biden’s campaign promise to pass bipartisan legislation and bolster American manufacturing. 

Job growth in the manufacturing sector has been slow, with many companies struggling to find workers. Manufacturing jobs rose by 15,000 in June, down from 39,000 in May, according to Labor Department data.

AEM is pushing Congress to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure proposal and the surface transportation reauthorization bill. The group prefers the Senate’s bipartisan $304 billion proposal, which has yet to get a floor vote, over House Democrats’ $715 billion plan that passed the House earlier this month along party lines.

The surface transportation reauthorization is generally considered must-pass legislation, but lawmakers have said that some of its measures could be included in a larger infrastructure package.

Tags AEM Association of Equipment Manufacturers Biden infrastructure bipartisan Caterpillar Infrastructure Infrastructure spending Joe Biden John Deere Lobbying Manufacturing

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