Job Trends – U.S. Manufacturing


To create a little perspective let’s start out by getting a feel for the overall scale and size of the U.S. Manufacturing industry.

There are approximately 251,000 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States that employer roughly 12.5 million Americans. In 2016 the manufacturing industry produced $1.4 trillion, or 8 percent, of the nation’s economic output. For more, see Components of GDP.

It’s important to note that for every dollar spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. (Source: “Top 20 Facts About Manufacturing,” National Association of Manufacturers.)

There are many different types of manufactures that make up our industry including:

  • Food, Beverage, and Tobacco
  • Textiles, Leather, and Apparel
  • Wood, Paper, and Printing
  • Petroleum, Coal, Chemicals, Plastics and Rubber
  • Nonmetallic Mineral
  • Primary Metal, Fabricated Metal, and Machinery
  • Computer and Electronics
  • Electrical Equipment, Appliances, and Components
  • Transportation
  • Furniture
  • Miscellaneous Manufacturing

Right now U.S. manufacturing is on the rise and growing in strength and size. Manufacturing processes are changing along with the job skills that are needed. Although the number of manufacturing jobs is expected to decline the types of jobs that will remain are projected to increase in wage due to the added complexity of the new processes. These new job opportunities will require higher levels of education and training.

The demand for manufactured products is growing partly from emerging markets like India and China. It is estimated that this could nearly triple, to $30 trillion, by 2025. These countries would demand 70 percent of global manufactured goods.

How will this demand change careers in U.S. manufacturing industry?

The manufactures of tomorrow will be competing in a growing world economy alongside other countries that have lower labor costs, fewer government regulations and an overall lower cost to produce goods. To outperform and grow in this marketplace U.S. Manufacturers are adopting very sophisticated technology.

What is this new emerging technology and how will it impact U.S. manufacturing?

  1. Nanotechnology is creating a new era of microelectronics.
  2. Lightweight steel, aluminum, and carbon fibers are making cars lighter and more fuel-efficient.
  3. Bio-engineering creates more customized pharmaceuticals.
  4. 3D printing creates prototypes by combining small particles rather than by casting or stamping. However, they are being used more and more to manufacture specialized aerospace components and replacement human organs.
  5. Robots are becoming more sophisticated.
  6. Big datais being used to analyze customer trends and guide product development.

(Source: “Get Ready for the New Era of Global Manufacturing,” Harvard Business Review, January 31, 2013.)

All of these changes directly translate into more sophisticated processes that require higher levels of analysis and technology that will need very specialized training. This means that Industrial Maintenance Technicians of the future will need to be able to troubleshoot sophisticated electro/mechanical equipment, be able to program PLC’s, network numerous systems together and analyze the data that is gathered.

In conclusion, if you are in the maintenance or engineering field it is time to take serious action as relates to your education and skills. Specifically growing your knowledge in the area of automation & controls, electrical troubleshooting and electro/mechanical repair. Although for many, change is not a fun experience it is a necessary one that will drive wages and growth opportunity for all that participate.

Feel free to reach out to an Nh3jobs Talent Specialists to learn more about the specialized skills & education that manufactures are requiring today or their industrial maintenance and engineering positions.

Jim Verrell


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