There was a time when the United States was known as a country that made things. For decades, manufacturing plants across the country were humming with activity. American jobs were being created, and these American workers were producing quality American products. In the second half of the 20th century, corporations looked to enhance their bottom lines by moving their manufacturing operations abroad. By chasing profits, large companies left many Americans out of work. The practice of outsourcing has had sweeping implications. According to Forbes, the United States’ role in the global economy is shrinking at an astonishing pace.
Manufacturing plays a vital role in maintaining a thriving economy. The National Association of Manufacturers reports that the manufacturing sector employs 17 million Americans and contributes in excess of $2 trillion to the economy. These numbers can be, and should be, much higher. When corporations leave American soil in the pursuit of profits, the damage is not limited to the national economy. Forbes believes “The real losers in this battle are the workers. When companies leave the U.S., the worker is without a job.”
Jobs and the strength of the economy are obviously affected by the state of manufacturing. There are, however, deeper and more profound reasons manufacturing is so vital. The Harvard Business Review believes that “Having a strong domestic manufacturing base is vital to the United States maintaining its world leadership in innovation.”
Forbes agrees with the Harvard Business Review’s assertion. “We have to create an environment that promotes the entrepreneurial spirit. We must encourage American citizens to start new companies and attract companies that are domiciled in another country.” By encouraging American manufacturing, the United States can continue to innovate and lead the global economy.
At least one source believes that the revitalization of American manufacturing can start with the automotive industry. American automakers can take advantage of the recent auto sales boon and commit to strengthening the economy by manufacturing vehicles in the United States. Engineering.com believes automakers can greatly benefit by investing in American manufacturing.
If the United States wants to regain their place in the global economy, a concerted effort is necessary to reign in a new era of American manufacturing. There are many benefits to an American manufacturing revolution. Those left behind when companies began outsourcing will again find work producing American products. As a result, the United States can reclaim its status as a nation that is driven by manufacturing. Perhaps most importantly, the innovative spirit which has taken Americans to great heights can be recaptured and transform the future.