Manufacturing: The misunderstood industry

Source: Southern Growth Policies Board

Sep 27, 2010

According to a 2009 national survey, Americans believe that manufacturing is the most important industry for a strong national economy. Yet only 17% said their schools encourage manufacturing careers, and only 13% said their own parents encouraged them to pursue a career in manufacturing.

The disconnect between these two views — that manufacturing is critically important, but not as a career — has dire implications for the U.S. since now, more than ever, competitive manufacturing rests on employee quality.

The disconnects don’t stop there. For example, only a third of respondents believe manufacturing jobs are higher-paying than other industries when, in reality, manufacturing compensati on is 22% higher than non-manufacturing.

A career in manufacturing certainly has challenges — as any career does. Although few industries have escaped the recent economic downturn, manufacturing usually falls faster than other sectors during recessions (it grows faster in expansions). Furthermore, reducing employment, therefore increasingm plant producti vity, is a goal of every plant manager.

Click here to read the entire commentary, Manufacturing: The Misunderstood Industry, written by Scott Doron, Director of the Southern Technology Council.