9 Things You Didn’t Know About US Manufacturing


World’s Second Largest Manufacturer

In terms of industrial output, the United States has the world’s second largest manufacturing industry. Statistics show that manufacturers produced $1,697.7 billion worth of goods in 2010. The only country that manufactures more products than the U.S. is China.

Top 500 Manufacturing Companies Would Equal Third-Largest Economy

Here’s another fun fact: the top 500 manufacturing companies in the U.S. produce enough revenue to make them rank as the world’s third-largest country.

Employs More than 12 Million Workers

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), there are more than 12 million workers employed in the U.S. manufacturing industry. Of course, this number has likely increased since this data was first reported, as analysts say the U.S. manufacturing industry has experienced positive gains in recent months — a trend that will likely continue.

Adds $1.37 to the Economy for Every $1.00 Spent

NAM also states that for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the economy. So if a manufacturer spends $100 to produce a product, it adds $137 to the economy overall.

Largest Industry is Petroleum

While not necessarily surprising, the largest manufacturing industry in the U.S. (in terms of revenue) is petroleum. Other notable sectors include steel, automotive, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, and mining.

Canada is Top Market for Manufacturing Exports

Ever wonder which country receives the most of our manufactured products and goods? It’s Canada. Canada trumps the list, receiving 24% of the U.S.’ exported manufactured goods, followed by Mexico, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, and Taiwan.

Manufacturing Drives Research and Development

Manufacturing plays an important role in the country’s research and development sector. Statistics show that nearly 4% of all manufacturing sales were used for research and development purposes in 2011. In comparison, non-manufacturing sales only returned 2.3% to the research and development sector.

It’s Growing

Reports show that in the first quarter of 2010, U.S. manufacturing exports increased by 20% when compared to the year prior.  The highest export commodities during both of these periods — 2009 and 2010 — were transportation equipment, computer and electronics, chemicals, machinery, agricultural products and miscellaneous manufactured commodities

It’s an Important Part of the Economy

Of course, manufacturing is one of the most important sectors in the U.S. economy. It employs roughly 9% of all American workers while serving as the backbone to the economy as a while. This is why so many lawmakers are eager to keep it afloat.


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