Last Updated On: May 26, 2017

Manufacturing Statistics and Trends

The US manufacturing industry is one that requires an informed decision-making process, to achieve success. Having an informed view on industry trends, challenges and potential are certainly necessary for daily application.

To help manufacturers build an even more productive workforce, we have put together a list of the major manufacturing statistics and trends. Enjoy!

US Manufacturing

US Manufacturing Resurgence

The National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) outlines a Growth Agenda with four goals for a manufacturing resurgence in America. These goals include the following:

  • The United States will be the best place in the world to manufacture and attract foreign direct investment.
  • Manufacturers in the United States will be the world’s leading innovators.
  • The United States will expand access to global markets to enable manufacturers to reach the 95% of consumers who live outside our borders.
  • Manufacturers in the United States will have access to the workforce that the 21st-century economy demands.

These four objectives are certainly possible to attain; however, the current state of US manufacturing highlights as many challenges as it does positive insight to stimulating growth.

Challenges for US Manufacturing

We found a few intriguing US manufacturing statistics and trends that highlight present challenges in the industry. According to The Manufacturing Institute:

  • US manufacturers face a 20 percent structural cost burden compared to companies from our nine largest trading partners.
  • The US has the highest statutory and effective corporate tax rate in the world.
  • US health care costs have increased more than 80 percent in the past decade, creating greater personnel costs for manufacturers.
  • Regulations continue to impart a heavy burden on U.S. manufacturers.
  • US dominance in product innovation is now in question.
  • Manufacturing job losses have impacted every region of the country.
  • The US manufacturing workforce is older and less educated in comparison to other sectors.
  • The US is losing export market share as our trade gap widens.

Positive Insight into US Manufacturing

  • Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the 10th largest economy in the world.
  • Manufacturing in the United States produces $1.8 trillion of value each year, or 12.2 percent of US GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.
  • The R&D credit is a jobs credit. Seventy percent of credit dollars are used for salaries of high-skilled R&D workers. Some 162,000 new jobs would be created if the credit was strengthened – and even more, if it was made permanent.
  • Manufacturing is driving productivity growth in the U.S. economy, increasing at two and half times the rate of the service sector.
  • US manufacturers have reduced energy usage and emissions to below the level from 1990.
  • US manufacturers are responsible for 47 percent of total US exports.
  • The US is the number-one destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) by a wide margin.

Solution to Success for US Manufacturing

Automation continues to improve supply chain efficiency and reduce the need for production workers. As manufacturing becomes more digitized, however, the employment need has changed. “A recent study found 82% of manufacturers report gaps in the availability of skilled production workers,” writes Ronald J. Bennett, Ph.D., Leader of the Center for Education Society of Manufacturing Engineers on Manufacturing Media Engineering.

According to Bennett, for the United States, “the missing piece is education.” Fortunately, “There has been a recent surge in interest in manufacturing education from many sources, including the White House.” Hopefully, we can continue to improve our manufacturing education system to meet the current skilled production demand. It may just increase our chances of meeting NAM’s goals for manufacturing resurgence in the United States.

Hopefully, these various US manufacturing statistics and trends have helped in realizing the current state of the manufacturing industry and provided an exclusive look into the future. We would love to hear more statistics and trends, so feel free to comment below with any additional findings!