What to Expect If U.S. Manufacturing Makes a Comeback

Matt Shelly
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Manufacturing in the U.S. has steadily declined in recent decades. Although the manufacturing sector has slowly started to recover, there is still a long way to go. If you're a current manufacturing employee or are interested in working in this industry, you need to know how a U.S. manufacturing comeback can affect you. To find out more about the potential benefits and consequences of a U.S. manufacturing resurgence, continue reading.

The most obvious thing to expect if a U.S. manufacturing comeback occurs is an increase in manufacturing jobs. In recent years, more jobs have been created by small changes to this sector. For example, Apple recently began manufacturing one line of computers in the U.S., and ethylene and propylene production has increased in states such as Louisiana and Texas. These relatively minor changes have resulted in an increase of over 500,000 manufacturing jobs just in the last few years. If this trend continues on a larger scale, many more thousands of jobs will be created.

However, filling these specialized positions is not an easy feat. With a decline in manufacturing, there has been a skills gap in the manufacturing sector. In the event of a manufacturing comeback, colleges would have to create more manufacturing degree programs to meet the need for skilled workers. This is especially true considering the fact that modern factories contain technical and computerized equipment that perform specialized tasks. Consequently, future manufacturing employees will need to have technical skills in addition to traditional artisan skills, such as welding and milling. Some industry experts even expect these positions to require a 4-year degree to meet the needs of a U.S. manufacturing comeback.

Aside from a rise in employment, a U.S. manufacturing comeback would result in a major boost to the economy. If the trend of outsourcing manufacturing labor and importing goods reverses, there is a huge potential to cut back on the approximate 67 percent of private-sector research and development spending. In addition, it is estimated that for every dollar produced from manufacturing activity in the U.S., $1.48 is returned to the U.S. economy. So, a resurgence of manufacturing has the potential to significantly boost the economy.

A resurgence of manufacturing would also result in savings to U.S. consumers. The U.S. has already implemented the technology necessary to manufacture products more efficiently in existing factories, which translates to lower prices. Additionally, saving the cost of international shipping alone means a decrease in prices. The U.S. also has the capability to run factories with cheaper, U.S.-manufactured energy. The increase in natural gas and shale deposit extraction occurring across the U.S. provides an economical source to power factories with a high demand for energy.

Lastly, if there is a U.S. manufacturing comeback, this industry will become central to the economy. Consequently, legislative action would then focus more on federal incentives for the manufacturing sector and more money would be allocated for the development of advanced manufacturing technology.

Clearly, any significant increase in U.S. manufacturing has far-reaching effects. From increasing jobs to cutting down on private-sector research and development spending, a U.S. manufacturing comeback has the potential to lead to a thriving U.S. economy. If you want to become a part of the potential manufacturing resurgence, begin the process of gaining the necessary high-tech, specialized skills.


(Photo courtesy of koko-tewan / freedigitalphotos.net)


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