U.S. manufacturing could rank as tenth-largest world economy

November 30, 2012

With the apparent state of the manufacturing industry fluctuating on a daily basis between revival and decline, a recent report reveals that the sector is so large that it would be the tenth largest economy in the world if classed as an individual country.

The 2012 edition of 'Facts about Modern Manufacturing' provides a number of key facts and figures that give a realistic definition of the true state of the U.S, manufacturing industry. Produced by The Manufacturing Institute, the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, and the National Association of Manufacturers, it has been seen by some business analysts as a timely reminder of what the industry has achieved and the future of manufacturing in the U.S.

The report has a number of key findings, many of which dovetail with concerns that manufacturers have about the state of the global marketplace, the future of the American economy and the potential talent gap that is limiting some companies to operate on a lean enterprise basis.

However, the study highlights the positive side of the industry and proves that manufacturing is driving productivity in the U.S. economy.

It also confirms that a manufactured good stamped with the words "made in the USA," shows a commitment to quality management in manufacturing. According to the report, the industry is currently increasing at two and half times the rate of the service sector, while manufacturers are seen to invest more into research and develop than other industries.

U.S. manufacturers are responsible for 47 percent of all U.S. exports and are the the number one destination for direct foreign investment. Overseas companies now invest $750 billion per year into manufacturing and employ over 1.6 million people, another sign of recognized product quality.

While manufacturing firms with less than 100 employees make up 94 percent of all American companies, the report also shows that workers receive a higher average salary and greater benefits than in other industries. One concern that the report addresses is the drop in manufacturing education in the U.S., with the authors expressing the opinion that the country is falling behind overseas competitors in terms of STEM skills.

"American manufacturers are the most resilient and dynamic in the world," wrote the authors of the report. "Despite two severe recessions in less than a decade, manufacturing in the U.S. has bounced back and, due to its productivity, innovation and sophistication, it remains the envy of the world."