Congressional Research Services, Library of Congress. April 15, 2013.
The health of the U.S. manufacturing sector has been a long-standing concern of Congress. Although Congress has established a wide variety of tax preferences, direct subsidies, import restraints, and other federal programs with the goal of retaining or recapturing manufacturing jobs, only a small proportion of U.S. workers is now employed in factories. Meanwhile, U.S. factories have stepped up production of goods that require high technological sophistication but relatively little direct labor. Labor productivity in manufacturing, as measured by government data, has grown rapidly, suggesting that the manufacturing sector as a whole remains healthy. In the context of national security, the fact that U.S. manufacturers of vital products are critically dependent upon inputs from abroad is frequently a subject of concern. International comparisons indicate that the United States is in no way unique in its dependence on foreign inputs to manufacturing. Although the output of U.S. factories contains a large proportion of foreign value added, many other countries appear to be even more dependent upon foreign value added than is the United States, at least with respect to goods traded in international markets.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41712.pdf [PDF format, 17 pages].
U.S. Government Accountability Office. April 10, 2013.
STEM education programs help to enhance the nation’s global competitiveness. Many federal agencies have been involved in administering these programs. Concerns have been raised about the overall effectiveness and efficiency of STEM education programs. This testimony discusses (1) the number of federal agencies and programs that provided funding for STEM education programs in fiscal year 2010; (2) the extent to which STEM education programs overlap; and (3) the extent to which STEM education programs measured effectiveness and were aligned to a governmentwide strategy.
http://gao.gov/assets/660/653661.pdf [PDF format, 21 pages].
Natural Resources Defense Council. April 2013.
Improving the energy efficiency of our manufacturing facilities, buildings, and homes can help us meet our energy challenges affordably. It can save consumers money on their energy bills, drive business competitiveness and economic growth and jobs, enhance grid reliability and flexibility, and help protect public health and the environment. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems are strong examples of how energy-efficiency technologies can help achieve these significant benefits for end-user facilities, utilities, and communities. As the case studies featured in this report illustrate, CHP systems are extremely versatile and can be used in a spectrum of industries and facilities, including advanced manufacturing, chemical production, food processing, primary metals, data centers, hotels, multifamily housing, district energy, health care, landfills, and farms. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/combined-heat-power-IP.pdf [PDF format, 33 pages].
The Heritage Foundation. April 4, 2013.
In order to craft better job policies, it is valuable to understand when, where, and by whom jobs are created. Rigorous data analysis tells us that start-up firms are disproportionate job creators and that new firms tend to appear in cities with smaller incumbent firms. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2013/pdf/ib3891.pdf [PDF format, 3 pages].
RAND Corporation. April 2013.
Across the globe, policymakers view entrepreneurship as a potential route out of poverty, even for the most disadvantaged. Many countries have developed policies to encourage business creation within this group. These dissertation papers explore the role entrepreneurship plays in the lives of the economically disadvantaged in both India and the U.S. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/rgs_dissertations/RGSD200/RGSD297/RAND_RGSD297.pdf [PDF format, 148 pages].