5 Myths About American Manufacturing Debunked
Politicians and other special interests regularly bemoan the decline of American manufacturing. Naturally these statements may resonate with someone who has been personally touched by job loss or business failure. Unfortunately, young people deciding on a career path may also be swayed by such statements. As a result, they may not consider manufacturing as a viable career opportunity – even if they have the requisite talents. There is also an impact on manufacturing business owners who become uncertain about investing in new technologies that will keep them competitive.
The truth is, manufacturing in the United States is much healthier than some would have us believe. Let’s take a look at 5 such claims and the facts that put them into proper perspective.
Myth # 1: Manufacturing has never recovered from the Great Recession.
Fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics manufacturing jobs have increased by 800,000 since the end of the recession for a total of 12.3 million workers (9% of the U.S. workforce).
Myth # 2: U.S. manufacturing workers are not globally competitive.
Fact: The National Association of Manufacturers reports that American workers have increased output-per-hour by 2.5 times since 1987, and almost 3 times for durable goods producers.
Myth # 3: The U.S. doesn’t export enough goods, and trade agreements with other countries hurt U.S. exports.
Fact: U.S. exports have quadrupled over the past 25 years and, in 2015, U.S. manufacturers exported goods worth $634.6 billion, or 47% of total exports, to countries with which there is a free trade agreement, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Myth # 4: There are few manufacturing jobs available.
Fact: According to research conducted for the Manufacturing Institute there is a need to fill nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade and 2 millions of these may go unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.
Myth # 5: Manufacturing jobs don’t pay well.
Fact: The Bureaus of Labor Statistics and Economic Analysis reports that the average U.S. manufacturing worker in 2015 earned $81,289 in pay and benefits.
All in all, it’s clear that American manufacturing is still a strong force in the U.S. and world economy. In fact, the International Monetary Fund finds that, with $2.1 trillion in value added, U. S. manufacturing – alone – would be the ninth largest economy in the world.
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