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Top 20 Facts About Manufacturing

  • In the most recent data, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015. This figure has risen since the second quarter of 2009, when manufacturers contributed $1.70 trillion. Over that same time frame, value-added output from durable goods manufacturing grew from $0.87 trillion to $1.18 trillion, with nondurable goods output up from $0.85 trillion to $0.99 trillion. In 2015, manufacturing accounted for 12.1 percent of GDP in the economy. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. That is the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. In addition, for every one worker in manufacturing, there are another four employees hired elsewhere. (Source: NAM calculations using IMPLAN)

    With that said, there is new research suggesting that manufacturing’s impacts on the economy are even larger than that if we take into consideration the entire manufacturing value chain plus manufacturing for other industries’ supply chains. That approach estimates that manufacturing could account for one-third of GDP and employment. Along those lines, it also estimated the total multiplier effect for manufacturing to be $3.60 for every $1.00 of value-added output, with one manufacturing employee generating another 3.4 workers elsewhere. (Source: Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation)

  • The vast majority of manufacturing firms in the United States are quite small. In 2014, there were 251,901 firms in the manufacturing sector, with all but 3,749 firms considered to be small (i.e., having fewer than 500 employees). In fact, three-quarters of these firms have fewer than 20 employees. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses)
  • Almost two-thirds of manufacturers are organized as pass-through entities. Looking just at manufacturing corporations and partnerships in the most recent data, 65.6 percent are either S corporations or partnerships. The remainder are C corporations. Note that this does not include sole proprietorships. If they were included, the percentage of pass-through entities rises to 83.4 percent. (Source: Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income)
  • There are 12.3 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce. Since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturers have hired more than 800,000 workers. There are 7.7 million and 4.6 million workers in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing, respectively. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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