Manufacturing is changing, continues to grow—requiring new set of skills for workers | The American Ceramic Society

Manufacturing is changing, continues to grow—requiring new set of skills for workers

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[Image above] Credit: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Updated 3/17/2017—59.2% of U.S. exports are manufacturing goods.

There was a lot of talk during the 2016 presidential campaign surrounding manufacturing and the jobs lost to other countries, such as Mexico and China. Politicians may make promises to get votes, but realistically, many manufacturing jobs won’t come back because of technology and automation.

But there is some good news among the gloom and doom.

In an article on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, Gardner Carrick, vice president of strategic initiatives at The Manufacturing Institute, states that his office has seen “four straight years of job growth in manufacturing,” as some manufacturers are moving production back to the United States.

Although the industry has changed and technology has replaced many jobs, BLS projects 19 sectors—including cement and concrete product manufacturing, and clay product and refractory manufacturing—will add jobs. As of March 2014, there were 264,000 job openings in manufacturing.

Manufacturing is changing, not dying

In an interview with CBS News, economist and manufacturing expert Diane Swonk says people are still of the mindset that manufacturing jobs are like they were back in the ‘50s and ‘60s—where people with little or no skills could work for wages that enabled them to live the American dream.

She explains that growth in U.S. manufacturing will require new skills—such as computer, tech, and problem-solving skills—that education and training can provide to a new generation of workers. Swonk says many companies, especially those that need specific skill sets, are willing to invest in training for workers who were left behind when plants closed or jobs were eliminated.

So where are those manufacturing jobs and what impact do they have on today’s economy?

The U.S. Department of Commerce follows these trends and publishes on a wide variety of topics on its Manufacturing Innovation Blog. A recent post from The Manufacturing Extension Partnership illustrates some impressive stats in an infographic:

  • Manufacturing is 6th largest employer in the U.S.
  • There are 12.3 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
  • The U.S. exports $1.3 trillion in manufacturing goods.
  • 59.2% of U.S. exports are manufacturing goods.
  • Manufacturing contributes nearly 11.8% to the U.S. GDP and $2.2 trillion to the U.S. economy.
infographic with manufacturing stats

Credit: The Manufacturing Extension Partnership

According to a new report coming out this week in the April issue of ACerS Bulletin, the global glass and ceramic industry is worth $717.7 billion and will soon reach $1 trillion. Manufacturing companies—are you ready to grab your share?

If you’re planning to attend Ceramics Expo 2017, April 25–27, consider coming a day early for the Marketing for Manufacturers Forum. The speakers promise to arm you with the knowledge you need to grow your business and capture your share of the market—you’ll learn how to use market research, manage product introductions, and create a personalized marketing plan. You’ll even hear actual case studies.

Visit this link to register before March 24, 2017.

Manufacturing is not going away. It’s only going to get better.