The team at Marlin Steel are, quite naturally, massive enthusiasts for American manufacturing. After all, manufacturing is how the Marlin team makes its livelihood.
However, there are a lot of reasons why every American should love the USA’s manufacturing industry, whether you’re a manufacturer or not.
Why should you love American manufacturing? Here are a few good reasons:
1: It Grows the American Middle Class
Americans face a growing personal financial crisis, one that is shrinking the middle class as jobs that pay living wages disappear. As inflation outpaces the minimum wage, it is harder and harder for hard-working Americans to live out the American dream on their income.
Sadly, a minimum-wage job’s pay just doesn’t have the same mileage it did back in the sixties and seventies. According to statistics from the Social Security Administration, the median income in America was $28,851.21 in 2014 (the most recent complete data set). In other words, 50% of all working Americans make less than that amount each year.
Manufacturing gives Americans a chance to work a job that’s more meaningful and rewarding than flipping burgers for some fast food chain. The average salary for manufacturing workers in 2014, according to statistics cited by the NAM, was $79,553. That more than 2.7 times the national median income.
Simply by providing jobs that pay a living wage, manufacturers can grow the middle class and make a huge difference for Americans. This means more people with more disposable income to circulate wealth, helping not only grow the tax base, but indirectly support countless other businesses as these manufacturing workers buy homes and all the amenities they need to support their families.
2: Manufacturing Make a Huge Impact on the GDP
Manufacturing is an enormous part of America’s economy. As cited by the NAM, “manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy.” This means that American manufacturing sector alone has a higher GDP than many developed nations.
Consider that the entire U.S.A.’s GDP is $17.419 trillion according to data from the World Bank, and that means manufacturing accounts for more than a tenth of the U.S. economy (roughly 12%).
The jobs and goods created by the American manufacturing industry are a cornerstone of the nation’s economy, helping to support the country financially. When American manufacturers export to other nations, it helps to balance the country’s astounding trade deficit and bring profits into the country rather than sending money overseas.
3: Manufacturing Breeds Innovation
America is a world leader in technology and innovation, and that’s something every American should be proud of. New developments in technology can impact our lives in deep and meaningful ways, helping improve the quality of life for everyone.
Manufacturing helps breed innovation, as manufacturers constantly work to find new ways to improve efficiency, speed, or safety in their processes and products. In fact, when the manufacturing industry in America shrank during the late nineties, IP development in the country as a whole suffered.
As noted in an ESA.gov report, “Because patent-intensive industries are all in the manufacturing sector, they experienced relatively more employment losses over this period, especially over the past decade.” Manufacturing of all types drive the creation of patents and patented goods.
Patented goods are a major source of income for the country, as noted by the aforementioned Economics & Statistics Administration report, “merchandise exports of IP-intensive industries totaled $775 billion in 2010, accounting for 60.7 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports.”
Even without the trade benefit of patented goods developed by the manufacturing industry, the innovations themselves can often prove to be beneficial to American families and businesses.
4: The Manufacturing Sector in America Has One of the Highest Percentages of Employer-Provided Health Benefits for Workers
As noted by the NAM, “92 percent of manufacturing employees were eligible for health insurance benefits in 2015… significantly higher than the 79 percent average for all firms.”
92 percent eligibility is nothing to sneeze at. This level of coverage means one less monthly bill for manufacturing workers to have to worry about, and more safety and protection from the real risk of being bankrupted by large hospital bills in case of an injury or illness. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the cost of a hospital stay was an “average of $10,000 per stay.”
That figure’s just the average. The cost of care for a serious injury or illness can easily outpace the cost of a mortgage for four-bedroom, two-bathroom house. This means that many families are just a single bad medical event away from serious economic hardship, or even bankruptcy.
By providing workers with meaningful healthcare insurance, manufacturers help protect against this eventuality, reducing the risk of bankruptcy from a single hospital stay.
These are just a few of the reasons why everyone in America should love the manufacturing industry. Do you have a particular thing that you love about American manufacturing? Share your favorite reason to love manufacturing in the comments below!