Manufacturing has always fascinated me. It all started with an elementary school tour of a cereal plant when I was a child. Since that day, I seize every opportunity to watch the modern marvels of manufacturing at work. A lot of people think that manufacturing is dead in this country, but contrary to some reports, manufacturing is alive and well and contributing in a huge way to our national economy.
"Some mistakenly believe manufacturing in the United States is in decline because of the continuing evolution of global sourcing and competition. In fact, U.S. manufacturing is vibrant, robust and contributes greatly to the dynamic American economy," says Dennis Cuneo, Senior Vice President at Toyota Motor North America. The manufacturing sector — more than any other — is driving the current U.S. economic recovery, according to The Facts About Modern Manufacturing, a report recently released by the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute.
"The Facts book sets the record straight about manufacturing´s central role in the U.S. economy," says NAM President John Engler. "It is an essential resource for anyone interested in the future of manufacturing in America — from policymakers and the media to educators and political candidates who need to know how manufacturing supports their state´s economy and how they can support manufacturing.”
"Manufacturing output in America is at the highest level in U.S. history and continues to support our economy," Engler said. "At the same time, manufacturers in the United States face unprecedented challenges — from rising energy and health care costs and increased global competition to a serious shortage of skilled production workers, scientists and engineers that will intensify as the baby boom generation retires."
"The Facts book documents how manufacturing drives economic growth, productivity and innovation in America," added Jerry Jasinowski, president of The Manufacturing Institute (the research and education arm of the NAM). "Manufacturing provides great benefits to the U.S. economy and our quality of life — and offers a broad range of high-paying, interesting jobs with average annual compensation of nearly $65,000 for young people with the right skills and education," he said.
Here are some facts from the report.
- Manufacturing made the highest contribution (15 percent) of all sectors to real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth between 2001 and today.
- Manufacturing is the engine of American technology development and innovation, responsible for more than 70 percent of private sector R&D.
- Manufacturing´s high productivity rate — which determines real wage and benefit compensation — increased by more than 50 percent over the past decade and was far higher than for services.
- Manufactured goods make up more than 60 percent of U.S. exports, helping to pay for U.S. imports. While agricultural exports amount to about $50 billion a year, manufacturers export that much each month.
- Manufacturing wages and benefits are approximately 25 percent higher than in non-manufacturing jobs.
- Manufacturing has a greater multiplier effect on the rest of the economy than does any other sector; each manufacturing dollar generates an additional $1.37 in economic activity.