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Why We Love Manufacturing (And You Should, Too!)


            “Helping manufacturing thrive is one of the best investments we can make in our economy.” This recent quote by Linda Adam sheds light on the fact that even in a fluctuating economy and a generational transition, one thing remains consistent: manufacturing is still the engine of our economy. However, the manufacturing industry has continued to slip the minds of workers coming into the workforce and has taken a backseat to other high profile industries in the public eye. So the question becomes, why is such an important industry not thriving? The lack of knowledge and understanding of the full impact of manufacturing could be the answer to this question and something we must correct as a manufacturing community.

                How important is manufacturing to the United States’ economic success? In 2015, manufacturing accounted for 12.1 percent of gross domestic product in the economy. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis.)  This percentage translated to manufacturing contributing $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015. Falling near the top of both percent of GDP and money added to the economy, it is easy to see the correlation between a healthy manufacturing sector and a flourishing United States economy.  Not only does manufacturing add such a big contribution to GDP, but it also has the highest multiplier of any sector in the economy. To put this multiplier into perspective, for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. Therefore, investing in manufacturing indirectly funds other industries immensely.  Even with these statistics however, arguably the most important asset that manufacturing provides to the economy is jobs. According to WeatherTech, one manufacturing job supports five more US jobs. If we break this down, there are currently 12.3 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce. That means that manufacturing has provided roughly 61.5 million other jobs as a result of people working in manufacturing!  Ranking in the top three in categories such as percent of GDP contributed, sector multiplier, and number of jobs added, it is evident how important manufacturing is to a booming United States economy.

                Even if we can convince the average American that manufacturing is an important part of our economy, there is still a huge problem that looms overhead. Why does our youth continue to dismiss the idea of a career in manufacturing? We commonly hear that manufacturing is dark, dirty, and dangerous, and that manufacturing lives in the past with technology. Well, these misconceptions are no longer true. In our April blog, we discussed how technology is being implemented at a rapid pace. Every day state-of-the-art solutions are being created to increase efficiency and reduce downtime. Whether it be tablets on the floor or advances in machine capabilities, technology is revolutionizing manufacturing operations. We must continue to come up with effective solutions to override the roadblocks we face in recruiting younger generations to jobs in manufacturing.

                One effective solution that the manufacturing community has discovered actually takes place in less than a month. Every year on the first Friday of the month in October, companies around the world prepare to host Manufacturing Day at their respective companies. According to their website, this event allows manufacturers to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort with local schools, what manufacturing is and what it isn’t.  Through plant tours, hands on experience, and interactive presentations, manufacturers can begin to show our youth what manufacturing truly is. Events like these are essential for sustaining manufacturing as a staple of our economy. Why is it so essential? According to Deloitte, two million jobs will go unfilled in 2016 and beyond in manufacturing. Manufacturers around the nation must work together to end this skills gap and debunk common manufacturing myths that plague the health of an otherwise flourishing industry. We must formulate and implement new strategies to attract younger generations to careers in a promising manufacturing industry.

To learn more about job opportunities in manufacturing and Ashley Ward’s capabilities, check out our website. We are also actively posting more industry news and company updates on our Twitter and LinkedIn pages.