New York City Industry and Transport Firms See Obstacles—and Openings
Seems everyone’s clear that getting America back to work is the number one priority. And small businesses are the key to making that happen. Small businesses, the engine of our economy, are continuing to not only create jobs, they also drive growth and fuel innovation. I recently participated in the NYC Business Solutions Industrial and Transportation Quarterly Leadership Committee meeting, where business owners and leaders identified their most pressing challenges and discussed how to tackle them. NYC Business Solutions is a set of free services offered by the city’s Department of Small Business Services to help businesses start, operate, and expand in New York City.
At the meeting, the committee looked at the broad landscape of issues affecting the local industrial manufacturing and transport industries. The issues that dominated the conversation included:
• Finding quality, qualified, and motivated job seekers;
• The impact of various restrictions under the new Hours-of-Service-of-Drivers rules, which have created a need to hire more drivers;
• Contracting with government;
• Identifying new exporting and importing opportunities;
• Paying for employee healthcare coverage (some owners have taken salary cuts in order to manage this expense);
• Overhauling the Van Wyck Expressway to create an additional truck route to John F. Kennedy International Airport;
• Having consistent height requirements for trucks on New York and New Jersey bridges and roads; and
• Having standard operating procedures for trucking routes so drivers are made aware of trucking rules and regulations in the tri-state area (NY–NJ–CT) when they receive licenses and permits.
Though small business owners voiced concerns at the table, they were not shy in expressing that they still had the ability to create jobs and drive growth. They even made it a point to alert me to the fact that the industrial manufacturing and transport industries are thriving, growing, and looking to hire.
Participants also discussed new openings and opportunities for manufacturers, truckers, and shippers, with small business owners expressing an eagerness to tap into the potential of exporting to expand sales and hiring. And though small businesses make up 97.5 percent of all exporting firms, they only account for 31.4 percent of the value of exported goods. Indeed this is an area for growth; manufacturing and transport businesses are key players in international trade, and they are energized by President Obama’s challenge to double U.S. exports by 2015.
—Teri Coaxum, Region II Advocate