Made in America – Statistics for 2017

American Manufacturing Jobs

As we approach the one-year mark since the last presidential election took place, people have been asking whether there have been any changes in manufacturing.  While it’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether any of these changes are directly related to who is sitting in the oval office, it certainly plays some part.  There are several interesting facts with regards to 2017 manufacturing trends.

First some changes between 2016 and 2017.  The number of manufacturing jobs increased from 12.1M to 12.3M, overall wages in manufacturing increased as well, however manufacturing fell from being the 5th largest employer in the country to being the 6th.  This seems to be directly tied to the challenges in finding and retaining talented people to work in manufacturing.  While the public perception continues to be that wages in manufacturing are lower than most other fields that’s proving to be less and less true.  The average hourly manufacturing employee in the U.S.A. earns $26.17/hr while the salaried employees are averaging $64,305 annually.  This is nearly double the average for someone working in construction or an employee in leisure and hospitality.  It’s rapidly closing in on the averages for government civilian employees, currently the largest employer in the country.  Another interesting fact about jobs in manufacturing – for each manufacturing job created another 2.5 more jobs in local goods and services are created.

In terms of the impact of U.S. manufacturing on the overall economy for 2017, the following stats have been reported:

  • For every $1 of goods being produced, manufacturing is generating an additional $1.37 for the economy
  • Manufacturing contributed $2.09 trillion dollars to the economy
  • Manufacturers are responsible for nearly three-fourths of all the private sector R&D which of course directly contributes to the economy’s growth
  • The top states in terms of quantity of manufacturing jobs for 2017 were California, Texas, and Ohio
  • The top states in terms of largest manufacturing concentration for 2017 were Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan
  • 2% of U.S. exports are manufacturing goods this equates to $1.3 trillion dollars
  • In 2017 manufacturing comprised nearly 11.8% of the U.S. GDP
  • Top areas of growth for manufacturing jobs in 2017 were transportation, food and fabricated metal

Interestingly the percentage of growth in total manufacturing jobs was nearly the same after the first year post-election previously (2012 vs 2013).  So it may in fact have nothing to do with who gets elected but instead be more closely correlated to the end of the election cycle.  Many businesses are more hesitant to make capital equipment purchases just prior to an election and will instead wait to see which direction things are heading before making a decision, but most seem to end up moving forward rapidly after an election is over.  Regardless the continued growth in manufacturing year over year certainly bodes well for 2018 with the biggest potential struggle being the need for more qualified workers to help companies reach their growth goals.


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