For decades, the manufacturing industry has been perceived as dirty, dangerous, back breaking, and low paying work. This has kept people from actively pursuing a career in manufacturing. However, manufacturing has undergone a lot of change since then. The fourth industrial revolution has brought in new innovations and technologies which has forever changed the manufacturing industry for the better. Modern manufacturing is now organized, autonomous, and more important than ever.
Manufacturing employs millions of Americans
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 12,317,000 Americans worked in the manufacturing industry in October 2015, making up a huge part of the workforce. And if we restrict that figure to those who work in production and are not in a supervisory role, the industry still had more than 8.5 million employees that same month.
Manufacturing offers some of the highest paying jobs
One in six private sector jobs is still indirectly or directly tied to manufacturing, as mentioned in a report by The Manufacturing Institute. The manufacturing industry pays premium wages and benefits, and supports much more economic activity per dollar of production in comparison to other sectors. In 2014, the average earnings for US workers was $54,450 a year, and those in the manufacturing sector were earning, on average, $77,000 per year.
Manufacturing has a remarkable impact on the economy
The manufacturing industry accounted for roughly 12% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, according to The World Bank. In the same year, the GDP for the country was $16,768,053,000,000, making the manufacturing sector worth around 2 trillion dollars. Compared to the whole GDP of Canada, this one sector of America’s economy produces more value in one year. As the National Association of Manufacturers rightly put it: “Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the ninth-largest economy in the world.”
Manufacturing drives more innovation than any other sector
“Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector R&D in the nation,” as per the National Association of Manufacturers. Whether in new product development, improving process efficiency, or incorporating new technologies, manufacturing companies drive continuous innovation which is far more than any other sector.
In many ways, the American manufacturing industry is both incredible and important. Not only is it driving innovation and technology, it is providing well-paying employment to millions.