The future of U.S. manufacturing: Adjusting to global economic uncertainty

September 14, 2012

The short-term indices for the U.S. manufacturing sector have detailed an uncertain immediate future for the industry, but the long-term picture may be a little brighter than the predictions given by many economists.

The American reported that the country's sector has recently been propped up by the success of its advanced manufacturing industry, with a number of firms making significant progress in this segment.

According to the news outlet, while many other countries have remained focused on the older segments of the manufacturing sector, American companies have stayed ahead of the curve in terms of technology and innovative practices, such as adopting lean manufacturing strategies.

The increased role that the government is playing is also helping to support U.S. manufacturing firms. Efforts like innovation clusters and tech-based operational training help to expedite growth and progress in the industry.

Adam Segal, who is on the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that the sector would benefit from "the use of research support, tax incentives for venture capital investments, collaborative R&D schemes, and the joint development of intellectual property."

This type of positive sentiment was also recently demonstrated by a survey showing that Americans favored goods that were made in the U.S. over those that were manufactured abroad.

The survey, conducted by Perception Research Services, outlined how certain segments of the American consumer market were influenced by the presence of "Made in the USA" on the tags of items that they purchased.

The recent survey found that there was an increase in the number of shoppers who favored goods made domestically, as there was a 3 percent gain from year to year.

"Particularly for products that are ingested such as food, beverages and medicines – if you make it here, make that clear – that is, include a "Made in the USA" mention on your package (and possibly other marketing communications) so that shoppers are aware of that fact," said Jonathan Asher, Executive Vice President of PRS. 

While this type of sentiment was expressed by American consumers, the same type of dedication to domestically produced items was not present for shoppers in China.

According to the survey, just over half of the shoppers in China were positively influenced by this same type of labeling, another factor that could be a good sign for U.S. manufacturing.