US Manufacturing Productivity Compared to Other Countries

map worlds manufacturing output
Exact financial estimates vary depending on if the results are calculated by GDP or Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) numbers, but in either case, most analysts agree that China overtook American manufacturing output in 2010.
deloitte manufacturing competitiveness chart
Deloitte’s survey in 2016 predicted the US would surpass Chinese manufacturing competitiveness in 2020; alas, the Covid pandemic interrupted these aspirations.

Competitive Advantage #1: An Innovative And Productive Workforce

The combination of leading-edge innovation and an educated, productive workforce (human capital) is widely seen as the most important factor in achieving long-term success in the manufacturing sector.

Investment In Innovation

The manufacturing industry has been a leader in high tech innovation for decades, but the newest disruptive technologies (falling under the “Industry 4.0” banner, including 5G, AI, electric and autonomous vehicles, IoT, and the solar/battery renewable energy transformation) are already creating new industrial champions, such as Tesla Motors, that will change the course of manufacturing history.

manufacturing competitiveness index deloitte
South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan lead the world in relative R&D spending. US investments in R&D are growing slowly while Chinese investments, while much lower, are increasing rapidly.

Verdict: South Korea, China, And Taiwan Lead The World In Relative R&D Spending; China Is Rising While US Research Investment Is Stagnant.

mobile large workbench with lower cabinetry
Formaspace manufactures custom furniture solutions for today’s leading-edge manufacturing companies at our Austin, Texas, factory headquarters. Shown above is a custom workbench built for vacuum products manufacturing company designed to support a LAB Line high-performance UHV platform for magnetron sputtering deposition.

Brain Drain

For decades, countries around the world have struggled with how to combat “brain drain” — the loss of their best and brightest who have migrated (most commonly to the US) for better education and greater opportunities.

Verdict: The US Is At Potential Risk For Brain Drain

Worker Productivity

According to the 2018 Brookings Global Manufacturing Scorecard, the productivity of US manufacturing workers rates among the best in the world –thanks to increased investment in automation and high tech manufacturing — allowing the US industry to succeed despite having some of the world’s highest labor costs.

heavy duty repair classroom
Heavy-duty industrial furniture built by Formaspace can be found across the spectrum, from Fortune 50/500 companies to prestigious Ivy League college classrooms and everywhere in-between.

Verdict: The US Needs To Grow Its Future Manufacturing Workforce By Connecting With Students At A Young Age.

university innovation lab
Formaspace built custom workbenches for the innovation lab at the University of Texas at Dallas. Each bench features LED laboratory magnifying lamps, solid maple tops, and heavy-duty steel frames with a protective textured white coating.

Competitive Advantage #2: Favorable Business Climate

With a few notable exceptions, the US manufacturing industry enjoys a favorable pro-business climate.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store