MANUFACTURING & JOBS: Add IT, Kill the Overtime Rule

Then President-elect Donald Trump and then Vice President-elect Mike Pence talk with factory workers during a visit to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis.

President Trump knows better than anyone how beholden he is to manufacturing workers for his victory, and he has sent a strong message that he felt their pain—and would attempt to ease it.

Mid-market manufacturers weren’t big enough to make the president’s dartboard of job-shaming. And CEOs of smaller manufacturers, as well as other mid-market chiefs, would like to see Trump take a broader view of U.S. job creation.

Phobio CEO Stephen Wakeling, for instance, urged the president not to “fight against big macroeconomic principles that I’m not sure he can beat.” The B2B wireless-technology company CEO noted that, “in manufacturing, automation is good. If we become a society of more process-oriented engineers, rather than skilled manufacturing laborers, then that’s good for GDP.”


To broaden the effectiveness of efforts to “reshore” jobs, President Trump might also consider ways to encourage bringing back some of the 1 million information-technology jobs that have been lost to cheaper foreign providers since 2000, suggested Harley Lippman, CEO of Genesis, a domestic tech-staffing firm. “The focus has been on manufacturing, but IT jobs are more plentiful,” he said. “And the cost differential has narrowed dramatically.”

CEOs also hope President Trump will put a kibosh on the Obama administration’s proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that were put on hold by a federal judge in December.

Known as the “white-collar overtime provision,” the sweeping change will boost compensation for more than 4 million workers. “That would be one of the most damaging things for small and midsized businesses,” said Nick Turner, CEO of Kaye/Bassman International, a managerial recruiter.

Dale Buss :Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other business publications. He lives in Michigan.