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With international manufacturing powerhouses like China, India, and South Korea constantly increasing their share of the world’s GDP, one might wonder whether the future of US manufacturing is in jeopardy. Is it worthwhile for a current student in the US to consider a career in manufacturing while considering the nature of the world economy’s evolution?

In a word: Yes. Here’s why:

1) The US will soon have a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers:

According to Deloitte,

“The United States faces a need for nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade and 2 million of those jobs are likely to go unfilled due to the skills gap.”

In fact, the shortage could be so severe, that wages will have to rise within the industry as the competition among a smaller pool of skilled labor intensifies:

“While 80% of executives report they are willing to pay higher salaries than the market rates in workforce areas reeling under the talent crisis, the industry appears to suffer from an inability to fill positions expeditiously.”

2) Manufacturing is still a huge driver of American GDP.

There is ample evidence that the manufacturing footprint of the entire US economy is vastly underestimated, and could be as high as one-third. According to Mapi:

“The narrow definition of manufacturing industries in national statistics implies that the sector is of only minor importance to economic activity. The traditional finding is that manufacturers’ proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) is only about 11% and manufacturing’s share of economy-wide full-time equivalent employment is just 9%. Since this excludes manufacturing activities such as research and development, corporate management, logistics operations, and advertising and branding, those figures are merely the tip of the iceberg.”

3) By 2020, the US is projected to be the number one manufacturing country in the world.

According to IndustryWeek.com:

“By 2020 the U.S will overtake China to earn the top spot for the most competitive nation in the world.
The reason for this ranking, according to Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, is due the country’s investment in research, technology, and innovation.”

For further resources regarding manufacturing study, programs and companies interested in internships, see National Manufacturing Day — falling on the first Friday of October — October 7th, this year.

Here is a summary of a local manufacturing degree program provided by the Pennsylvania College of Technology:

And finally, don’t forget the IMET is hiring! The manufacturing future is bright, indeed.