The Public Perception of U.S. Manufacturing is Improving

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The manufacturing industry has a lot on their plate as businesses move toward the future. From the lingering skills gap to the rapid adoption of emerging technology, manufacturers have a lot to think about. However, the future of the industry will be impossible to maintain without an enthusiastic young workforce to replace the retiring baby boomers.

Manufacturing continues to struggle with a public that has an outdated perception of what the industry actually entails. This highly advanced and incredibly fruitful industry has made impressive strides forward but the public is still influenced by outdated stigmas. The industry is working vigorously to correct the way the public perceives manufacturing and they’re doing a tremendous job according to recent studies.

Manufacturing Day, STEM camps and other industry focused initiatives have had a dramatic impact on the way the public views the manufacturing industry. Deloitte recently released their latest public perception study and the results are impressive. 83% of Americans that participated in the survey believe manufacturing is important to America’s economic prosperity; 7 in 10 believe the US needs to invest more heavily in the industry; 8 in 10 believe US manufacturing is important to maintain our standard of living and 64% believe the US manufacturing industry is a high-tech field. These results are proof that industry wide events, celebrations and educational programs have a direct impact on the public perception of the industry.

Even with all the good news, there is still much more work to be done. One-third of Americans still wouldn’t encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. A majority are worried about security and stability and right below that are people concerned that it is not a strong career path. Only half of those surveyed believe a manufacturing career will provide good pay when compared to other industries.

These negative perspective are however not based on fact. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the average tenure of workers in manufacturing jobs is the highest among all private sector industries at 9.1 years (2016)”. Furthermore, the average manufacturing employee in the U.S. earned $81,289 annually which includes pay and benefits. This compared to the $63,830 average annual income in other industries shows how fruitful a career in manufacturing can actually be.

With all the progress U.S. manufacturing has made over the past few years, there is still much work to be done. However, the good news is that the industry is making progress and this should be motivation to continue these incredible initiatives. They will be vital in convincing the public that the modern manufacturing industry has come so far and can offer so much when it comes to a career in the industry. It’s exciting to see all this progress being made but businesses, academia and the workforce must continue to spread the message.