US (EPI) Studies on Manufacturing
Focus on Manufacturing
With layoffs and cutbacks becoming routine, it is tempting to write off U.S. manufacturing as an anachronism. However, a new set of EPI reports shows that actually making things remains an essential part of the economy, and can continue to be a source of good jobs. Â
The manufacturing sector supported 14 million jobs in 2007, or about 10.1% of total employment. Â A Snapshot developed by EPI economist Robert Scott shows the sector’s importance varies from state to state. California leads the country in sheer output value, producing $169 billion worth of goods in 2006, followed by Texas with $140 billion. However, the relative importance is greatest in Indiana, where manufacturing accounts for 28% of the state’s gross domestic product.
The right policies will not only keep manufacturing jobs in the country, but they can also ensure that they are of high-quality and offer adequate wages and benefits. In her report, Renewing U.S. Manufacturing, economist Susan Helper called for adopting policies “to create a highly productive, high-wage economy” that would contribute to other critical national goals, such as environmental sustainability, energy independence, modernizing infrastructure, and maintaining a defense industrial base. Meanwhile, George Sterzinger of the Renewable Energy Policy Project argued for building a strong domestic manufacturing sector in green energy projects. These papers, along with a background piece by EPI economist Robert Scott on the continued importance of U.S. manufacturing, were presented at a Feb. 13 EPI forum that drew more than 100 spectators. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was the keynote speaker