The regulatory burden on manufacturing has skyrocketed over the past few years. According to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the cost of federal regulations in 2012 was $2.028 trillion (in 2014 dollars). Of that amount, $330 billion was for environmental compliance. The average manufacturing firm in the U.S. pays $19,564 per employee per year in regulatory compliance costs (including OSHA, taxes and environmental). For small manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees, that burden rises to $34,671 per employee per year, said the NAM report.
Douglas Woods, president of the Association for Manufacturing Technology, wrote an interesting editorial in a issue of IndustryWeek about a year ago, in which he described the dilemma of manufacturing in the United States. Basically, he compared the government's efforts to promote manufacturing to Dr. Doolittle's "Pushmi-Pullyu," a strange Llama-looking creature with one head at each end of its body. Every time the Pushmi-Pullyu head at one end tried to move forward, it was prevented from doing so by the other end's head.
"While legislation, policy and initiatives have come forth with the aim of pushing the industry forward, a snarled web of tax and regulation likes underneath and hinders any movement toward real progress," wrote Woods in the IW publication.