American Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2018 and Beyond

1280px-Hyundai_car_assembly_lineManufacturing is arguably one of the most important industries in the United States. As of March 2017, the industry employs more than 12.4 million people, pulling in roughly $1.9 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP). Of course, one of the reasons for its success is the ever-evolving nature of American manufacturing. As old trends fade, new ones emerge. So, what kind of trends can you expect to see in American manufacturing within the next few years?


While manufacturing companies have been using robots for decades, market analysts believe robotics will soon play an even more influential role in the sector. It’s no secret that China has emerged as a leader of manufacturing, thanks largely in part to its use of automated systems and robotics. In an effort to keep up with this competition, U.S. manufacturers are also exploring robotics technology. Using robots, manufacturing companies can automate many day-to-day operations that would otherwise be performed with manual labor.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Manufacturing companies are also using machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve their operations. Collectively speaking, these terms refer to computer algorithms that can learn without the need for human input. Automotive manufacturing companies, for instance, use technologies such as this on automated assembly lines. Machine learning and artificial intelligence is also used for product testing and quality control.

Solar Energy

Another American manufacturing trend to watch is the expansion of solar energy. With a newfound focus on clean and renewable energy sources, solar power is expanding across the United States. According to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the United States installed 2,044 megawatts of solar panels in just the first quarter of 2017. To put that number into perspective, that’s enough power for 8.7 million residential homes.

Increased Demand for Workers

Additionally, analysts predict an increased demand for American manufacturing workers in 2018 and beyond. According to a report from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), manufacturing companies in the United States are aggressively seeking to fill jobs while also encouraging their existing employees to work longer. The ISM employment index for American manufacturing is at its highest level since 2011, with a 58.9% rating.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to sensors and devices that are interconnected with the ability to send and receive data on their own. American manufacturing companies using “smart” approaches often rely on IoT devices to improve productivity and efficiency.

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