Manufacturing is crucial to the U.S. economy. Every individual and industry depends on manufactured goods. In addition, innovations and productivity gains in the manufacturing sector provide benefits far beyond the products themselves.

The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, employing nearly 12 million Americans in the production of $1.6 trillion in manufactured products—18 percent of the world’s manufactured goods.

Exports of U.S. manufactured products accounted for 86 percent of all U.S. exports of goods in the first quarter of 2010. Manufactured goods exports in March 2010 were 19 percent higher than the previous month, illustrating the value of a strong manufacturing sector to support the recovering economy.

There is no dispute over the significant contribution that manufacturing makes to the U.S. economy and to America’s standard of living. The sector continues to account for 11 percent of U.S. GDP and 9 percent of total U.S. employment, as well as the majority of U.S. exports.

Those statistics, however, do not adequately convey the importance of the manufacturing sector to the U.S. economy and to America’s future. Manufacturing is an integral part of a web of inter-industry relationships that create a stronger economy.

The following overviews take both a long- and short-term view, outlining the predominant trends and market indicators that have affected U.S. manufacturing over the last several decades.

Manufacturing Sector Overviews:

The State of Manufacturing in the United States

Regional Manufacturing Overviews

Additional Publications and Information:

Last Updated: 10/22/10 11:52 AM