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Manufacturing in the United States Today (Part 1)

United States manufacturing

In the past, we’ve used our blog here at Cleveland Deburring Machine to talk about the importance of manufacturing – in terms of how the manufacturing industry benefits the U.S. economy by providing jobs, as well as how it contributes to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The U.S. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers. Our country accounts for somewhere around 20% of all manufacturing production in the world. But, what might seem strange to some is the fact that we only export about half of what we manufacture. We are, after all, a consumer-based society, so it stands to reason that much of the manufactured product in the U.S. stays here in the country because of consumer demand. So, what does the U.S. manufacturing industry really look like? Let’s look as some facts and figures in the first of a two-part blog series on manufacturing in the United States today.

Manufacturing in the U.S. today is big. Really big. Manufacturing industry and economics experts all agree that manufacturing represents a considerable amount of “fuel” for the U.S. economic engine. Here’s what manufacturing looks like by the most current numbers: In 2012, the U.S. manufacturing industry contributed $1.87 trillion dollars to the national economy. This amounts to about 12% of the annual GDP. And although 12% doesn’t seem like a large number, it benefits the readers to know that this number also represents about 17-18 million U.S. jobs. By the way, in 2007, the manufacturing industry contribution to the GDP was $1.83 trillion. Between 2007 and 2012, that’s a difference of $40 billion dollars, and a sure sign that manufacturing in the U.S. is still a growth industry with a world of potential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, our country exported about $2.1 trillion in goods in 2011 – a number that was up by 11% over the previous year. Now, given that we know that manufacturing represents a good portion of all our domestic exports, this kind of data may have some scratching their heads. So, what does the U.S. truly manufacture? An excellent question! A couple of recent reports by MSN Money and Business Insider online stated that the top manufactured goods in the U.S. included (in no particular order) motorcycles, electrical equipment, luxury kitchen appliances, fabricated metal parts, office chairs, medical equipment, military weapons systems, sporting goods, electric and acoustic guitars, computers, machinery, transportation equipment, and primary metal products (from scrap or metal ore). And given that these dozen-or-so American-made products represent only the top manufactured goods in the U.S., it’s easy to imagine all of the different products that aren’t on the list. Yes, the U.S. exports manufacturing to other countries where, sometimes, there is a cost advantage gained from using cheap labor, but it doesn’t take a PhD in economics to know that many of those products were initially manufactured at companies and assembly facilities here in America in earlier years. The goal going forward, is to bring those manufacturing jobs back home.

In Part 2 of blog this series on manufacturing in the United States today, we’ll look at a reinvestment in American manufacturing and the dawn of a manufacturing renaissance.

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