Executive Briefings

Health of U.S. Manufacturing Is Both Good and Not So Good

U.S. manufacturing is at a moment of truth. Currently, U.S. factories competitively produce about 75 percent of the products that the nation consumes. A series of identifiable smart actions and choices by business leaders, educators, and policymakers could lead to a robust, manufacturing-driven economic future and push that figure up to 95 percent. Alternatively, if the U.S. manufacturing sector remains neglected, its output could fall by half, meeting less than 40 percent of the nation's demand, and U.S. manufacturing capabilities could then erode past the point of no return.

Those findings emerge from a recent sector-by-sector analysis of U.S. industrial competitiveness, along with a survey of 200 manufacturing executives and experts, conducted by Booz & Company and the University of Michigan's Tauber Institute for Global Operations. (So researchers could best analyze the relationship between U.S. employment and the future of manufacturing, plants located in the United States were counted as American, regardless of where the company that owned them is headquartered.) The studies - which included comparisons to similar Booz & Company studies of China and Switzerland - found that the U.S. has a much more productive manufacturing base than many people think. But no single country, not even China or the U.S., can claim to be the factory of the world, in the way the United States was after World War II.

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U.S. manufacturing is at a moment of truth. Currently, U.S. factories competitively produce about 75 percent of the products that the nation consumes. A series of identifiable smart actions and choices by business leaders, educators, and policymakers could lead to a robust, manufacturing-driven economic future and push that figure up to 95 percent. Alternatively, if the U.S. manufacturing sector remains neglected, its output could fall by half, meeting less than 40 percent of the nation's demand, and U.S. manufacturing capabilities could then erode past the point of no return.

Those findings emerge from a recent sector-by-sector analysis of U.S. industrial competitiveness, along with a survey of 200 manufacturing executives and experts, conducted by Booz & Company and the University of Michigan's Tauber Institute for Global Operations. (So researchers could best analyze the relationship between U.S. employment and the future of manufacturing, plants located in the United States were counted as American, regardless of where the company that owned them is headquartered.) The studies - which included comparisons to similar Booz & Company studies of China and Switzerland - found that the U.S. has a much more productive manufacturing base than many people think. But no single country, not even China or the U.S., can claim to be the factory of the world, in the way the United States was after World War II.

Read Full Article