Leading Jobs: A Career in Manufacturing

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Manufacturing has a rich history in America. It is the backbone of our economy. America's manufacturers provide our country with a tremendous number of jobs and give the people of our country a better quality of life. Most importantly, the many inventions that have come out of America have been a major part of our nation's distinctiveness. As is well known, America started out as an agrarian society, with most settlers, particularly those in the South and Midwest, working farms. As cities grew and transportation improved, though, the nation slowly turned to manufacturing, leading the world in industry and inventions.

For over 100 years, millions of Americans were working in the manufacturing industry. Slowly, however, America is changing once again. The nation is now considered more of a service-based economy than a manufacturing economy. This is not necessarily bad news, though, and has come about for many reasons, a positive one being the expansion of technology, a more negative one being that American manufacturers must now compete with foreign manufacturing companies.

Competing globally is not an easy task since foreign companies can produce things at much lower costs and, hence, sell the finished products at much cheaper prices. As such, it has become a challenge for the US manufacturing industry and its workers to rise to the occasion and come out ahead in the 21st century. Strengthening American manufacturing has been a focus of the US government for the past decade. In addition to manufacturing being the backbone of our nation's economy over the years, this is a top priority because millions of Americans work in the manufacturing industry.

When we think of manufacturing, many of us think only of automobile production and automobile factory jobs; however, while the auto industry is certainly the biggest manufacturing sector in our country, there are many other industries that support this area of production. These include the tool and die, machine tools, tires, glass, and car parts industries, among too many others to mention.

Unfortunately, the American auto industry has recently gotten into deep financial trouble and is asking the government for a huge bailout. Ford, Chrysler, and GM, the three major American automakers, are in deep financial straits. They have appealed to Congress for a large loan. Many people have mixed feelings about whether or not they should receive this loan; however, whatever the outcome, most Americans are confident that the auto industry will survive and that jobs will be saved for the next generation.

Our government has always realized the critical contribution manufacturers make to the overall American economy. The thought has always been and still is that ''healthy manufacturing is the key to better jobs.''

Here are some facts about manufacturing in America that may be of interest to anyone looking for a manufacturing job in today's economy:
  • The US is the world's leader in producing manufactured goods.
  • The US manufacturing segment, standing alone, represents the world's fifth-largest economy.
  • US manufacturing leads the world in innovation.
  • The US produces over 90% of the patents registered yearly.
  • America's productivity has continued to rise, and the US remains on the cutting-edge of manufacturing techniques.
  • The US is engaged in global competition with many other nations and still comes out strong.
Advancements in technology and the introduction of new products both create new industries and careers in technical manufacturing. In the Midwest, for example, improvements in cotton harvesting equipment have led to the manufacturing of new equipment and to an increase in workers' productivity.

There are a large variety of jobs in the manufacturing industry. A person can get a job on an assembly line, operating a forklift, manning a shipping dock, or working in maintenance. A person can also get a managerial type job or become a supervisor. There are also many jobs in manufacturing that involve technology, operations, business, engineering, design, and construction. Indeed, there are so many different kinds of jobs available and so many jobs overall in manufacturing that one factory in a small town can employ a very large percentage of the population.

Salaries for most manufacturing jobs are on the high side. Additionally, the benefits are typically very good and working conditions are maintained under the watchful eyes of the unions and the government.

It is true that there have been challenges in manufacturing of late and that the job market has changed significantly from years past. Individual industries have tried to adjust to the overwhelming amount of imports coming into the US and have been lobbying for government policies that will help keep manufacturing jobs in American communities. The government is not going to let this important industry down, so if you're looking for a job in the manufacturing sector, your chances may not be as gloomy as the media is making them out to be.
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