The manufacturing industry is one of the largest and most influential sectors of the United States economy. According to ACS estimates, the number of people employed in the Manufacturing Industry Sub-Sector has been growing at a rate of 0.41%, from 15.4M people in 2017 to 15.5M people in 2018.
But what is it like for the millions of people who actually work in the industry? The truth is, it's pretty fantastic. Here are some reasons why:
1. Contribution To The Economy
The manufacturing industry helps support the global and national economies, as well as individuals and families.
Deloitte research has shown that manufacturing ranked among the most important industries in maintaining a strong U.S. economy and eight in 10 Americans believe U.S. manufacturing is important to maintain Americans' standard of living.
Research also shows that manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any other major sector.
According to Reuters, with manufacturing orders booming, manufacturing employment expanded for the first time since July 2019. Reuters also reported the ISM said its index of national factory activity increased to a reading of 59.3 in October 2020 — the highest since November 2018. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.3% of the U.S. economy.
Clearly, manufacturing is having a big impact on jobs, livelihoods and the economy. That’s something to be proud of.
2. On The Cutting Edge
Manufacturing has always been on the cutting edge of technology. American manufacturing innovations have helped shape the country since it was founded, and today new technologies like automation, wearables, 3D printing, drones, and the IoT continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. How exciting and humble is it to be able to work with new technology before the public gets its hands on it? For all the tech heads in the industry, that is one of the best reasons to get up and go to work each day. It’s good to be ahead of the curve.
3. Exciting Sectors Of Work
For some, relaying details about their jobs may be met with disinterest and boredom. But that’s not the case for those in manufacturing who can regale friends about developments in the automotive industry, share the latest in food manufacturing with families over Thanksgiving dinner, or tell neighbors about the newest pharmaceuticals they are processing. With so much excitement within the industry, you’ll have plenty of awesome information to share with those outside of it.
4. Increased Safety
A huge myth the industry has been fighting for decades is how unsafe manufacturing is. And for a long time, it absolutely was a high risk career path plagued by chemicals, machines, and other hazards. But we’ve come a long way. Robots are making our jobs safer, and technology like the Internet of Things and automation keeps us out of harm's way. We are working smarter, and safer, than ever before.
5. Fruits Of Your Labor
One of the great benefits of working in this industry is the fact that you are often working on real, tangible products. Manufacturing affects almost everything in our lives. Whether working on everyday items you can buy at the store or huge set pieces for the next great Netflix movie, you can point to something and get the very satisfying pleasure of saying “I made that.” When you work in the industrial sector, you can actually see the outcome of your work in a tangible object.
6. Career Growth
Once you choose a sector to go into, there are plenty of options for your career path. From fabrication and welding to research and distribution, the possibilities seem endless. And as the baby boomer generation begins to retire, leadership opportunities will be available for the next generation of manufacturers to take the reigns. Manufacturing jobs offer a ton of entry level positions. Most companies offer on-site job training, which is perfect for recent graduates or those looking for a complete change from their day-to-day, so there is always room to grow and advance your career.
According to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the chart below shows that wages are distributed more evenly in Manufacturing (shown in red) in comparison to the national average for those wage buckets (shown in gray).
7. More Than An Assembly Line
Manufacturing covers various industries and jobs within the manufacturing sector for those from other disciplines, such as sales and business development, marketing, human resources, and many others. These positions afford all of the benefits of working in manufacturing — the pride, stability, competitive salaries, excitement, great technology and others — to people from many different backgrounds. Not every industry can boast of the same potential and flexibility.
8. It Saves Lives
Back in April earlier this year, Thomas Insights spoke to members of the team at JSI, an organization of healthcare/health systems consultants and researchers who have been working to strengthen health systems in the event of a medical emergency. Vaccine manufacturers and their supply chains are at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and other manufacturers are stepping up to repurpose their facilities to help meet mass demands for supplies.
Read More: Q&A with Immunization Experts at JSI
Innovations like 3D printing and additive manufacturing continue to represent the next frontier in manufacturing and the medical field. Doctors and scientists have teamed up to leverage 3D printing for everything from external prosthetics to internal implants. Recently, a scientific journal published that researchers developed a new technology that can 3D print electronic sensors directly onto live organs, even as they're working. And in the pharmaceutical industry, 3D printing is being used to lower costs and improve treatment for patients.
Editor's Note: If you're sourcing suppliers for COVID-19 items, click here for those manufacturers and distributors. If your industrial business can support the production of essential supplies to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, please complete this form to notify us of your availability and willingness to dedicate resources. Thomas is working with State and Federal Government offices to help mobilize manufacturers to deliver supplies and services.
Reshoring Is Creating More Opportunities For Manufacturers
According to recent Thomas survey data, 69% of companies across the manufacturing and industrial sectors "are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America" in the face of recent disruptions.
Pre-pandemic, the quality of products and services being sourced overseas was a major driver for reshoring. Then 35% of manufacturers saw incidents of offshore factory suspension and/or production restrictions, according to a February 2020 Thomas survey. Additionally, 8% of manufacturers surveyed reported that the COVID-19 outbreak caused their cost of goods to surge.
“We need to reshore manufacturing and supply. It will increase high paying, skilled jobs, and create an exponential number of support jobs,” said a survey participant from a metal stamping company in Connecticut. Reshoring will continue to create more opportunities for manufacturers.
To further capitalize on the opportunities, manufacturers can request a free Missed Opportunities Report to see which businesses are actively searching Thomasnet.com for your products and services.
Get Started With A Career In Manufacturing
Looking to start a career in the industrial sector? Whether your interest is in production, management, natural resources, or engineering, there's a manufacturing occupation for everyone. Young professionals are working side-by-side with seasoned veterans, and manufacturing businesses are attracting workers in rural locales and big cities alike.
Check out our manufacturing sources below and learn more about the state of the industry:
- 4 Steps To Land Your Dream Job In The Industrial Sector
- 3 Steps To Building A Career As A Successful Woman In Industry
- Working In Manufacturing As A Millennial
- 5 Tricks To Answering Curveball Interview Questions To Land Your Dream Job
- 6 Ways To Become An Asset To Your Organization [Confessions of an Industry Millennial]
- Top 4 U.S. Manufacturing Challenges And How To Overcome Them
- 7 Manufacturing Newsletters To Subscribe To Today
The manufacturing national workforce is projected to grow even through the COVID-19 pandemic. A July 2020 Thomas Industrial Survey reported that 38% of the companies surveyed are actively hiring. The data also showed that the lack of skilled labor available overall less impacted industries that adopted more apprenticeship programs. Now is the perfect time for your next career move.
- Registering for a free account to access our full suite of sourcing tools and procurement resources.
- Growing your business and attract the most qualified, in-market industrial buyers with Thomas’ marketing services.
- Subscribing to our daily newsletter to receive industry-specific news and professional insights.
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