Did you know that manufacturing supports an estimated 17.4 million jobs in the United States? According to the National Association of Manufacturers, over 12 million Americans are employed directly in manufacturing. And more and more American companies are “onshoring”—or shifting their manufacturing operations back to the United States due to increasing energy costs overseas. A recent New York Times interactive graphic which looked at how the recession reshaped the economy even noted that manufacturing added 362,000 jobs since the recession ended.
With this boom in manufacturing in the U.S., what are some of the most exciting trends?
Aerospace Manufacturing in the South
Pew Charitable Trusts reports that aerospace companies are moving their operations to the Southern part of the United States. Specifically, four Southern states are among the top ten in aerospace job growth: South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma. The South’s lower costs and the difficulty to form unions are among the reasons some companies are relocating. Rolls-Royce and Honda are some of those who have chosen to relocate or expand in the region.
Energy Boom and Industrial Growth
A report released in March 2014 by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that energy-based manufacturing jobs will increase by more than one percent a year in the U.S. through 2020. The report noted that energy-intensive industries (i.e., fabricated metals and machinery) were crucial parts of that growth, as they added over 196,000 jobs in metro areas from 2010 to 2012. In Forbes’ list of big cities leading the manufacturing revival, Houston, TX was ranked No. 1. Since 2009, Houston’s industrial employment has grown 15 percent.
Jobs in aerospace and medical equipment have fared well, whereas labor-intensive industries such as clothing production fared worst. The New York Times looked at manufacturing by industry and found that some manufacturing industries have recovered, including:
• Aerospace product and part (480,700 jobs)
• Miscellaneous nondurable goods (252,600 jobs)
• Petroleum and coal product (112,900 jobs)
• Turbine and power transmission (97,900)
One industry not only recovered, but also grew—agricultural, construction and mining with 252,600 jobs.
Overall Growth in the U.S.
In general, overall manufacturing job growth in the U.S. looks positive, as technology innovations and the U.S. energy sector contribute to the boom. Two recent reports—one by the Institute for Supply Management and another by Markit—find that manufacturing growth continued to accelerate in the month of May. And, as surveyed by The Boston Consulting Group, over half of U.S.-based manufacturing executives at companies with sales over $1 billion are planning to bring back production to the U.S. from China or are actively considering it.
As for what’s next within the industry—only time will tell.