Manufacturing in the U.S. generates about $1.6 trillion, or 12 percent of our gross domestic product, accounting for nearly three quarters of the nation’s industrial research and development (R&D), two-thirds of our nation’s total exports of goods and services, and supports more than 20 million high-paying jobs. Manufacturing also ensures we have a strong industrial base to support our national security objectives.
AAM believes that America’s leadership in the information age does not mean that we have to accept defeat when it comes to manufacturing. On the contrary, the nation that has the ideas and innovation, as well as cutting-edge technology and manufacturing, to win the global economic battles of the future.
Inside modern manufacturing facilities, you’ll see the most productive, highly-skilled labor force in the world applying the latest in information, innovation, and technology.
The fact is, our manufacturing industry has been, and will continue to be, a vital component of America’s success.
Today, Manufacturing Faces Extraordinary Challenges and Opportunities
American families and communities depend on a strong manufacturing base to improve our quality of life. American manufacturers should have more opportunities to export their products and increase production in the U.S., but a staggering set of circumstances has resulted in millions of layoffs and threatens the foundation of our economy: rising health care and retirement costs, a trend towards outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries, currency manipulation that distorts the marketplace, and unchecked cheating on international trade rules.
Some critics argue that a decline in manufacturing is inevitable. AAM begs to differ. Other sectors of the American economy—finance, information, services, technology—are clearly on the rise. But that does not mean manufacturing should decline. Just as manufacturing depends on technological advances and on access to information and finance, these sectors depend on manufacturing.
With manufacturing, America gets:
- More R&D – American manufacturers are responsible for two-thirds of research and development investment in the United States; nearly 80 percent of all patents filed come from the manufacturing sector.
- More Technology – American manufacturers are the leading buyers of new technology in the United States.
- More Jobs – American manufacturing directly employs 14 million Americans and creates 8 million additional jobs in other sectors.
- More Growth – American manufacturing is the largest single contributor the U.S. economy.
Tomorrow, America’s Success Depends on a Strong Manufacturing Base
As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated on Feb. 28, 2007, “I would say that our economy needs machines and new factories and new buildings and so forth in order for us to have a strong and growing economy.”
Contrary to popular misconceptions, the industrial age is not over. In fact, just the opposite is true. From nanotechnology, and robotics, to lasers and biotechnology, we are on the cusp of incredible advances in manufacturing. America must be the nation that leads the world into the next stages of development.
Manufacturing is, and will continue to be, an integral part of the “new economy.” With manufacturing, the new economy will thrive. Without manufacturing, much of this new economy wouldn’t even exist.