Kitchen Table Economics

Why Americans Should Care about Manufacturing

Over the past several decades, America experienced a decline in manufacturing jobs. But over the past few years, manufacturing employment has actually increased and our factories are on the rebound. Though this is good news, not all Americans have a full understanding of why manufacturing matters.

On the world stage, manufacturing makes America arguably the most competitive country. We are the world’s second largest manufacturer—only China is ahead of us. Our manufacturing industry drives American innovation, ensuring that we remain on the bleeding edge of technological development. Manufacturers perform more than 60 percent of all private sector research and development in the U.S.

Many of these manufacturing jobs pay very well. This helps ensure that the American middle class continues to excel. Additionally, every dollar spent on manufacturing generates $1.89 in economic growth.

Over the past two years, we have seen an acceleration in factory job growth. Currently, there are about 13 million manufacturing workers in the United States. These manufacturers export nearly half of all American exports.

America’s manufacturing power continues to face a multitude of issues. Offshoring, international trade complications, and a high demand for skilled workers. While much progress has been made in the past few years, more work remains to be done.